2. Heights

Unless the ellipsoid is made to coincide with the geoid, separations between the surfaces vary, Figure C-5.

Figure C-5
Geocentric Earth Model


There are three heights at each point, Figure C-6:

  • H: Orthometric height; from the geoid to the ground point; elevation determined by leveling from a benchmark
  • N: Geoid height; from the ellipsoid to the geoid. Also known as the geoidal height.
  • h: Geodetic height; from the ellipsoid to the ground point. Also known as the ellipsoidal height.
Figure C-6

The heights are related by Equation C-1.

Equation C-1