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I was reading an article that said when we display a map in WGS84 many people call it no projection. But most definitely when you see the map it has been distorted on a 2D surface.

Which got me to thinking is there such a thing as a "map" with no projection. If I'm looking at a 3D digital globe it is representing how it would look as if I were out in space. So then it wouldn't be projected. But if I'm looking at the globe on a screen then it is being rendered on a 2D screen so it is projected.

Is there such a thing as no projection?

marked as duplicate by PolyGeo Feb 15 '18 at 3:22

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    The term 'no projection' means that the data is not projected but in geographic coordinates.. coordinate systems are of two basic classes projected and geographic, thus anything representing a map in geographic coordinates can be said to be 'Unprojected'. The reason you don't see maps in unprojected coordinates very much is they're not all that useful, you can't measure a distance or take a bearing very well in geographic coordinates however you can show the general relationship between two landmasses great distances apart. – Michael Stimson Feb 15 '18 at 2:29
  • But in ArcMap when I generate a map and set it's spatial reference to WGS84 the resulting land masses are distorted. Isn't that the very basis for projection? From several sources "A map projection is a systematic transformation of the latitudes and longitudes of locations from the surface of a sphere or an ellipsoid into locations on a plane. Maps cannot be created without map projections." So maybe it's a misnomer but setting the map to a geographic spatial reference definitely maps it on to a 2D plane. – sinDizzy Feb 15 '18 at 2:44
  • That is half my question. The second part is asking about a globe like Google Earth or ArcGlobe. – sinDizzy Feb 15 '18 at 3:32
  • As per the tour there should be only one question asked per question. If one has been answered and you have another then you could either ask a new question about just the second part, or because it has no answers, you could edit this one to make it only about the second part. – PolyGeo Feb 15 '18 at 3:36
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    You can delete it (because it has no answers) but I always think that a question with no answers is ideally suited to be heavily revised by using the edit button. To get it reassessed for re-opening after editing either leave it to the review queue or ping me using @PolyGeo – PolyGeo Feb 15 '18 at 5:05