One of the recurring questions on GIS stackexchange is “What units is the area calculated by JTS getArea()”. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times people say that these is no answer to this as it depends on the projection of your data. The question will not die, so I cooked up some code that should give a close-ish answer for most polygons.

As with most of these questions the trick is to convert your polygon to a flat cartesian plane (this is where JTS works best). We can use the GeoTools auto projection (assuming the polygon is small enough) and then simply call .getArea() method.

private Measure<Double, Area> calcArea(SimpleFeature feature) {
    Polygon p = (Polygon) feature.getDefaultGeometry();
    Point centroid = p.getCentroid();
    try {
      String code = "AUTO:42001," + centroid.getX() + "," + centroid.getY();
      CoordinateReferenceSystem auto = CRS.decode(code);

      MathTransform transform = CRS.findMathTransform(DefaultGeographicCRS.WGS84, auto);

      Polygon projed = (Polygon) JTS.transform(p, transform);
      return Measure.valueOf(projed.getArea(), SI.SQUARE_METRE);
    } catch (MismatchedDimensionException | TransformException | FactoryException e) {
      // TODO Auto-generated catch block
    return Measure.valueOf(0.0, SI.SQUARE_METRE);

Note how I have returned a Measure instead of a raw double, so now any one using the method “knows” automatically that the answer is an area and it is in square metres.

This is also handy if you want to display your result in another unit:

    Measure<Double, Area> a = me.calcArea(feature);


    Unit<Area> sq_km = (Unit<Area>) SI.KILOMETER.pow(2);

    Unit<Area> sq_mile = (Unit<Area>) NonSI.MILE.times(NonSI.MILE);

    Unit<Area> acre = (Unit<Area>) NonSI.MILE.divide(8.0).times(NonSI.FOOT).times(66.0);
    UnitFormat.getInstance().label(acre, "acre");

Produces this expected output, where we can use predefined units like Hectare (and the less common Are) and define our own units like kilometre squared and acre. According to QGIS identify it should be 103,888.317 km² for a large polygon.

1.025113765431267E11 m²
102511.3765431267 km²
39579.86375845866 mi²
1.025113765431267E7 ha
2.5331112805413544E7 acre

For a smaller polygon I get 46.833 ha in QGIS and 46.901 ha which is close enough for most problems.