I would need to deliver a result shapefile in WGS 84 (GCS: Geographic –lat/lon- coordinate system), the shapefile is originally in WGS84; but in the process of creating this result shapefile I need to work with planar data. What I am considering is to set the Data Frame coordinate system to a proper projected coordinate system for that zone, work with the shape layer (in WGS 84 (GCS) whereas the Data frame is in a Projected coordinate system) and once finished working and obtained the result shape layer, Export the shapefile by doing Data > Export Data and, for the option “Use the same coordinate system as:”, choose “this layer’s source data”.

Is the resulting .shp going to be fully operative and to keep its geographic coordinates unmodified even if the Data frame coordinate reference system is a projected one?

1 Answer 1


Yes - in an export like you describe here the data frame's coordinate system will be ignored and all features being copied will be both input and output in the same Geographic Coordinate System of the layer's data source which in this case is a shapefile.

  • Thank you PolyGeo. Does it happen without any coordinates distortion or modification in the output layer related to the source layer?
    – Charly
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 14:37
  • Yes, but do you realize that you will affecting the original shapefile if you're editing features? If you want to maintain the original shapefile, copy it first and work with the copy.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 17:29
  • @Charly You do not mention editing in your question and I have assumed none. If you are, then pay attention to comment from mkennedy, and please edit your question to add additional details.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 20:59
  • Yes, I always work with a copy of the original files (I don't know you mean that, mkennedy). Anyway, the only edition I need to do is to add an "Area [ha]" field in the Table on Attributes. Then, I don't care about it wherever the resulting shape after that small edition is not distorted or modified in its inner coordinates in relation with the ones before the edition. ANd I believe there can't be any distortion or modification in that procedure. Am I right?
    – Charly
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 18:13

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