**Well-known text representation of coordinate reference systems** (**WKT**) is a text markup language for representing spatial reference systems and transformations between spatial reference systems. The formats were originally defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and described in their *Simple Feature Access*^{[1]} and *Well-known text representation of coordinate reference systems*^{[2]} specifications. The current standard definition is in the ISO 19162:2015.^{[3]}

## Contents

## Coordinate reference systems

WKT can describe coordinate reference systems. This WKT format was initially defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium in 1999, then extended in 2001. This format is sometime known as "WKT 1".^{[4]} Later, evolution of the Coordinate Reference System conceptual model, new requirements and inconsistencies in implementation of WKT 1 format between different software^{[5]} have encouraged the revision of that format. The updated "Well-known text representation of coordinate reference systems" standard, sometime known as "WKT 2", was adopted by the Open Geospatial Consortium in 2015.^{[6]} This standard is published conjointly by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 19162:2015.^{[7]}

For example, the WKT below describes a two-dimensional geographic coordinate reference system with a latitude axis first, then a longitude axis. The coordinate system is related to Earth by the WGS84 geodetic datum:

```
GEODCRS["WGS 84",
DATUM["World Geodetic System 1984",
ELLIPSOID["WGS 84", 6378137, 298.257223563, LENGTHUNIT["metre", 1]]],
CS[ellipsoidal, 2],
AXIS["Latitude (lat)", north, ORDER[1]],
AXIS["Longitude (lon)", east, ORDER[2]],
ANGLEUNIT["degree", 0.0174532925199433]]
```

The WKT format can describe not only geographic coordinate reference systems, but also geocentric, projected, vertical, temporal and engineering ones (for example a coordinate reference system attached to a boat). The standard describes how to combine those coordinate reference systems together.

### Backward compatibility

A software capable to read coordinate reference systems in WKT 2 format can also read many (but not all) equivalent systems in WKT 1 format.^{[8]} Some caveats exist, notably the removal of the `TOWGS84`

element ^{[9]} which is replaced by the `BOUNDCRS`

element. Another caveat is about the units of measurement. Some of them were unspecified in oldest WKT 1 specifications (for example the `PRIMEM`

unit), which has led to different interpretations by different software. Those units of measurement have been clarified in the 2001 update and the WKT 2 specification is consistent with that clarification. But not all software have followed the 2001 clarification.

## Coordinate operations

A WKT format is defined to describe the operation methods and parameters used to convert or transform coordinates between two different coordinate reference systems. The WKT 1 and WKT 2 formats are incompatible regarding coordinate operations, because of differences in the modelling.^{[10]} Below is an example of a concatenation of two WKT 1 transformation descriptions, where the Mercator projection is applied first and then an affine transform is applied on the result:

```
CONCAT_MT[
PARAM_MT["Mercator_2SP",
PARAMETER["semi_major",6370997.0],
PARAMETER["semi_minor",6370997.0],
PARAMETER["central_meridian",180.0],
PARAMETER["false_easting",-500000.0],
PARAMETER["false_northing",-1000000.0],
PARAMETER["standard parallel 1",60.0]],
PARAM_MT["Affine",
PARAMETER["num_row",3],
PARAMETER["num_col",3],
PARAMETER["elt_0_1",1],
PARAMETER["elt_0_2",2],
PARAMETER["elt 1 2",3]]]
```

Below is an example of a datum shift operation in WKT 2 format. Contrarily to an equivalent description in WKT 1 format, the WKT 2 description specifies the source and target coordinate reference systems, together with the domain of validity and the accuracy (in metres) that we can expect from this operation:

```
COORDINATEOPERATION["AGD84 to GDA94 Auslig 5m",
SOURCECRS[…full CRS definition required here but omitted for brevity…],
TARGETCRS[…full CRS definition required here but omitted for brevity…],
METHOD["Geocentric translations", ID["EPSG", 1031]],
PARAMETER["X-axis translation", -128.5, LENGTHUNIT["metre", 1]],
PARAMETER["Y-axis translation", -53.0, LENGTHUNIT["metre", 1]],
PARAMETER["Z-axis translation", 153.4, LENGTHUNIT["metre", 1]]
OPERATIONACCURACY[5],
AREA["Australia onshore"],
BBOX[-43.7, 112.85, -9.87, 153.68]]
```

## APIs that provide support

- Apache Spatial Information System: parses and formats WKT versions 1 and 2 for coordinate reference systems and coordinate operations

## See also

## References

**^**Herring, John R., ed. (2011-05-28),*OpenGIS® Implementation Standard for Geographic information – Simple feature access – Part 1: Common architecture*, Open Geospatial Consortium, retrieved 2019-01-28**^**Roger, Lott, ed. (2015-05-01),*Geographic information – Well-known text representation of coordinate reference systems*, Open Geospatial Consortium, retrieved 2019-01-28**^***Geographic information – Well-known text representation of coordinate reference systems*(1st ed.), ISO, 2015-08-01, retrieved 2019-01-28**^**"Well-Known Text format (WKT) version 1".*www.geoapi.org*. Retrieved 2016-11-01.**^**"OGC 12-063r5 Annex E".*docs.opengeospatial.org*. Retrieved 2016-10-01.**^**"OGC 12-063r5".*docs.opengeospatial.org*. Retrieved 2015-05-06.**^**"ISO 19162:2015".*www.iso.org*. Retrieved 2016-11-01.**^**"OGC 12-063r5 Backward compatibility".*docs.opengeospatial.org*. Retrieved 2016-10-01.**^**"OGC 12-063r5 Annex C.3.3".*docs.opengeospatial.org*. Retrieved 2016-10-01.**^**"OGC 12-063r5 Annex C.4.5".*docs.opengeospatial.org*. Retrieved 2016-10-01.