Elevation is the difference between the earth’s surface and a point above or below it. But the earth’s surface isn’t the same everywhere. It’s full of physical features, like mountains and valleys. So how can we measure elevation? Explore how in the latest Learning Center article from the Eos January 2018 issue.
Scientists rely on theoretical representations — called “vertical datums” — to represent the earth’s surface. Your GPS receiver captures elevation by referencing the “ellipsoid” datum, which is highly accurate.
So why might your highly accurate GPS receiver elevation seem several meters off? It all has to do the way your GPS is capturing data, and how you must convert this data to be able to use it.
Read about the difference between the ellipsoid, mean sea level (MSL), and geoid in this “Elevation for Beginners” article from the Eos January 2018 Issue.