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I would like to try and show data such that it appears as if it was on google earth. For example, in this case, the view of the earth is circular-like and the data shown curves around. Are there any map projections that enable me to do this?

(I do understand that geographic projections convert information from a 3D space into a 2D space. What I want to do, just for illustration purposes is to make the 2D space look like 3D!)

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D3.js, a javascript library for creating data-driven documents, provides some common projections. See link below for examples and a link to more projections available via plugin: https://github.com/mbostock/d3/wiki/Geo-Projections

A nifty example showing a globe with selectable projections: http://mbostock.github.io/d3/talk/20111018/azimuthal.html

An interactive comparison of projections here: http://bl.ocks.org/syntagmatic/3711245

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You find some examples of an orthograhic projection and how to create them in this question:

How do I project a Azimuthal Equidistant global map into a circle in QGIS?

A lot of examples are used by Wikipedia:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grey-green_orthographic_projections_maps

You can set the central point wherever you want. I have used a projection not placed on the equator in my avatar image ;-)

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