Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the difference between WGS 84 and EPSG 4326? It seems like for a given dataset it might be both WGS 84 and EPSG 4326.

share|improve this question
up vote 61 down vote accepted

4326 is just the EPSG identifier of WGS84.

WGS84 comprises a standard coordinate frame for the Earth, a datum/reference ellipsoid for raw altitude data, and a gravitational equipotential surface (the geoid) that defines the nominal sea level. [WP]

share|improve this answer

If you're really going to pick a nit: EPSG 4326 defines a full coordinate reference system, providing spatial meaning to otherwise meaningless pairs of numbers. It means "latitude and longitude coordinates on the WGS84 reference ellipsoid."

The term WGS84 is sometimes used the same way, but also it can refer to the ellipsoid only. For example, you can have "meters northing and easting as measured upon the cylinder formed by projecting the WGS84 ellipsoid using a transverse mercator projection with a central meridian of -123 degrees". (

In any case: No difference, just like everyone else is saying, except in the very nitty gritty details of how they are used.

TLDR: No one says "the EPSG 4326 ellipsoid" as part of a coordinate system definition.

share|improve this answer

As far as I can see the two are the same thing. Our definition (in FME) is:

Coordinate System Parameters

DESC_NM: WGS84 datum, Latitude-Longitude; Degrees
EPSG: 4326
SOURCE: Mentor Software UNIT: DEGREE

Datum Parameters

DESC_NM: World Geodetic System of 1984
SOURCE: US Defense Mapping Agency, TR-8350.2-B, December 1987

Ellipsoid Parameters

DESC_NM: World Geodetic System of 1984, GEM 10C
E_RAD: 6378137
P_RAD: 6356752.3142
SOURCE: US Defense Mapping Agency, TR-8350.2-B, December 1987

OGC WKT Description GEOGCS["WGS84 datum, Latitude-Longitude; Degrees", DATUM["WGS_1984", SPHEROID["World Geodetic System of 1984, GEM 10C",6378137,298.257223563, AUTHORITY["EPSG","7030"]], AUTHORITY["EPSG","6326"]], PRIMEM["Greenwich",0], UNIT["degree",0.0174532925199433], AUTHORITY["EPSG","4326"]]

ESRI WKT Description GEOGCS["GCS_WGS_1984",DATUM["D_WGS_1984",SPHEROID["WGS_1984",6378137.0,298.257223563]],PRIMEM["Greenwich",0.0],UNIT["Degree",0.0174532925199433]]

share|improve this answer
I agree same projection different names. – Mapperz Nov 9 '10 at 19:31

protected by AndreJ May 29 '14 at 7:23

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.