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Universal Polar Stereographic System






The graticule described is for the southern zone.

Meridians: Equally spaced straight lines centered on the South Pole. The angles displayed are the true angles between meridians.

Parallels: Unequally spaced circles centered on the South Pole. Spacing increases gradually away from the circle of true scale along latitude 87 degrees, 7 minutes N. The opposite pole cannot be shown.

Poles: The South Pole is a point. The North Pole is not shown.

Symmetry: About any meridian.


This is a perspective projection on a plane tangent to either the North or South Pole. It is conformal, being free from angular distortion. Additionally, all great and small circles are either straight lines or circular arcs on this projection. Scale is true along latitudes 87 degrees, 7 minutes N or S, and is constant along any other parallel. This projection is not equal area.


The parallels 87 degrees, 7 minutes N and S are lines of true scale by virtue of the scale factor. There are no standard parallels for azimuthal projections.


  • This projection is a special case of the stereographic projection in the polar aspect. It is used as part of the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system to extend coverage to the poles. This projection has two zones: “North” for latitudes 84º N to 90º N, and “South” for latitudes 80º S to 90º S. The defaults for this projection are: scale factor is 0.994, false easting and northing are 2,000,000 meters. The international ellipsoid in units of meters is used as the geoid model.

  • Mapping Toolbox™ uses a different implementation of the UPS projection for displaying coordinates on axesm-based maps than for projecting coordinates using the projfwd or projinv function. These implementations may produce differing results.

Version History

Introduced in R2006a