Coordinate Conversion to WGS84

The Mining Cadastre is now using WGS 84

The Ministry of Mining, after internal discussions and consultation with relevant Kenyan authorities, has decided to adopt the international WGS 84 coordinate system (geodetic datum) for use in the Mining Cadastre, instead of the currently used Arc 1960 coordinate system. This implies a transformation of all coordinates in the Mining Cadastre, from Arc 1960 to WGS 84. Please note that the location of your license boundaries is not affected – it is just the coordinates that are slightly modified. The decision to change was published in the Kenya Gazette of 30th January, 2015 (see full text below).

The Ministry has already performed the transformation in the Mining Cadastre database. When you view your license details in the new Mining Cadastre Portal at, you will see the transformed WGS 84 coordinates. They are expressed as degree-minute-second, or “DMS”, with 2 decimal places for the seconds. Latitudes may be North or South, all longitudes are East.

Practical considerations

In practical terms, the change means that anytime you are dealing with the location of your license, whether mapping, determining boundaries on the ground, setting up beacons, or using GPS equipment, you must remember that your license coordinates are now expressed in WGS 84; latitude and longitude; degrees, minutes, seconds. Any surveyors working for you need to be informed of this as well.

Since the topographic maps in Kenya are produced in Arc 1960, if you try to plot your coordinates using the Latitude-Longitude grid on the topographic map, you will be off by a distance of up to 200 metres, depending on your location in Kenya. Likewise if you attempt to capture coordinates using the topographic map’s latitude-longitude grid, you will need to convert to WGS 84 (see below on conversion).

Please note that the topographic maps primarily use a UTM grid, with the UTM coordinates following the Arc 1960 geodetic datum. If you capture UTM coordinates from a map or other source, you will need to convert from Arc 1960 UTM to WGS 84 latitude-longitude.

You will probably at some time use a GPS instrument for finding your license boundaries in the terrain, or for capturing points to be used in new license applications. Make sure that the instrument is set to WGS 84 for the geodetic datum (this is usually a default setting, but check to make sure).


To convert back and forth from various coordinate systems (UTM to/from geographic coordinates i.e. latitude-longitude, Arc 1960 to/from WGS 84), you can use a GIS program like ArcGIS or Quantum GIS, a specialized conversion program such as Franson CoordTrans, or various online conversion tools. Consult a surveyor or GIS specialist if you are unsure how to convert.

Please note that the Mining Cadastre Portal will only accept coordinates in WGS 84, latitude-longitude, degree-minute-second format, for registering license applications. Don’t forget to indicate North or South (negative values) for latitude! New applications should conform to the 15 second grid.

The specification of the conversion parameters used is at:

Assistance from the Mining Cadastre Office

The Mining Cadastre Office includes qualified surveyors and cartographers who can assist you with any questions you might have about the transformation that has been done, conversion issues and use of WGS 84 in the field.

Gazette notice of conversion

This decision to transform the existing coordinates and use WGS 84 going forward was published in the Kenya Gazette of 30th January, 2015, as follows:

Gazette Notice No. 507, THE MINING ACT, (Cap.306)


IT IS notified for the information of the general public that -


(e) all existing licenses and applications will be migrated from Arc 1960 datum to the WGS84 datum using a transformation with the following parameters: DX: -157 DY: -2 metres and DZ: -299 metres; and

(f) all new applications should be submitted in Degrees, and Seconds on the WGS84 datum and should conform to a cadastral grid spaced at a uniform interval of 15 seconds.

Dated the 27th January, 2015.


Cabinet Secretary for Mining