Altitude, Height and Elevation

Date: 19/11/2022 Author: Antonio H.

Altitude, Height and Elevation

It is common to use the terms altitude and height interchangeably to refer to a location. Next we will recall the definition of these terms.

Height is the vertical distance of a body from the earth's surface (the ground or the sea).

Altitude is the vertical distance of a body from sea level, regardless of whether the object is on the earth's surface or above it (plane, drone, ...)

Elevation is the vertical distance to sea level of a point that is on and in contact with the Earth's surface.

In the following graph, we see that the green point is located at a certain altitude and at a certain height, while the yellow point on the ground surface is at a certain altitude, but its height is zero since it is touching the ground. The land on which it is located is at a certain elevation.

Altitude height and elevation


In certain cases the values ​​may coincide, although we will be referring to different concepts. For example, for the yellow dot the elevation matches the altitude and if the body were flying over the sea, its altitude would match its height.


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