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Altitude or Elevation - that's the question


king.hubi
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I'm a little bit lost. Hope you can help me.

 

Looking on a bench mark page on geocaching.com I see the term Altitude right under the coordinates.

 

Looking on holograph's great web site holoscenes.com I also see the term Altitude.

 

Searching here in the Benchmark Hunting forum I find a mixture of Altitude and Elevation.

 

Looking into a bench mark datasheet from the NGS I don't find Altitude nor Elevation but Height.

 

Looking on the bench marks I have found so far I only see ELEV., ELEVATION, FOR ELEVATION WRITE ...

 

Looking into the datasheets from the NHDOT (New Hampshire Department of Transportation) or MaineDOT (Maine Department of Transportation) I only find the term Elevation.

 

My understanding is, that elevation is the height above mean sea level on the Earth's surface. Altitude is also the height above mean sea level - but mostly used for points above the surface of the Earth.

 

So now, what is the correct term for the height of a bench mark, Altitude or Elevation?

 

Thanks for your replies,

King Hubi

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i would think those terms are synonymous and interchangeable, no? :)

 

unless it's talking about elevetion above something else (other than sea level), in which case "elevation" makes more sense than "altitude", i guess.....

Edited by dfx
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So now, what is the correct term for the height of a bench mark, Altitude or Elevation?

 

 

Both altitude and elevation are somewhat informal terms. If you look at the NGS datasheets, the datasheet uses "ellipsiodal height", "orthometric height", "dynamic height", and other terms that have well-defined technical definitions.

 

When Geocaching.com extracted the datasheet data, they may have chosen to use the term "altitude" as the term most familiar to their users.

 

Altitude does seem to be used more often for aviation, and elevation for geography, but there are numerous exceptions. For instance, astronomy software often asks for the observer's altitude when computing ephemerides.

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fyi

 

The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, often the mean sea level. Elevation, or geometric height, is mainly used when referring to points on the Earth's surface, while altitude or geopotential height is used for points above the surface, such as an aircraft in flight or a spacecraft in orbit.
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For instance, astronomy software often asks for the observer's altitude when computing ephemerides.

 

Not into astronomy, but could the height above the surface (altitude above the site elevation) be a factor in those computations? Just a thought.

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