# Elevation vs. Altitude

By Jaxson

## Main Difference

The main difference between Elevation and Altitude is that the Elevation is a height above a fixed reference point and Altitude is a height in relation to a certain reference point; (general) distance measurement, usually in the vertical or “up” direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context

• Elevation

The elevation of a geographic location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth’s sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface (see Geodetic datum § Vertical datum).

The term elevation 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, and depth is used for points below the surface.

Elevation is not to be confused with the distance from the center of the Earth. Due to the equatorial bulge, the summits of Mount Everest and Chimborazo have, respectively, the largest elevation and the largest geocentric distance.

• Altitude

Altitude or height (sometimes known as ‘depth’) is defined based on the context in which it is used (aviation, geometry, geographical survey, sport, atmospheric pressure, and many more). As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or “up” direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context. Although the term altitude is commonly used to mean the height above sea level of a location, in geography the term elevation is often preferred for this usage.

Vertical distance measurements in the “down” direction are commonly referred to as depth.

Wikipedia
• Elevation (noun)

The act of raising from a lower place, condition, or quality to a higher; said of material things, persons, the mind, the voice, etc.

“the elevation of grain; elevation to a throne; elevation to sainthood; elevation of mind, thoughts, or character”

• Elevation (noun)

The condition of being or feeling elevated; heightened; exaltation.

• Elevation (noun)

That which is raised up or elevated; an elevated place or station.

“A hill is an elevation of the ground.”

“the elevation of the pole, or of a star”

• Elevation (noun)

The measured vertical distance from the peak of a mountain or hill to its bordering lowlands.

• Elevation (noun)

The angle which the gnomon makes with the substylar line.

• Elevation (noun)

The movement of the axis of a piece in a vertical plane; also, the angle of elevation, that is, the angle between the axis of the piece and the line of sight; distinguished from direction.

• Elevation (noun)

A geometrical projection of a building, or other object, on a plane perpendicular to the horizon; orthographic projection on a vertical plane; called by the ancients the orthography.

• Elevation (noun)

The raising of the host—representing Christ’s body—in a mass or Holy Communion service.

• Altitude (noun)

The absolute height of a location, usually measured from sea level.

“As the altitude increases, the temperature gets lower, so remember to bring warm clothes to the mountains.”

• Altitude (noun)

A vertical distance.

• Altitude (noun)

The distance measured perpendicularly from a figure’s vertex to the opposite side of the vertex.

“The perpendicular height of a triangle is known as its altitude.”

• Altitude (noun)

The angular distance of a heavenly body above our Earth’s horizon.

• Altitude (noun)

Height of rank or excellence; superiority.

• Altitude (noun)

Elevation of spirits; heroics; haughty airs.

• Altitude (noun)

Highest point or degree.

Wiktionary