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.
GIS or geographic information system is a computer system that allows for visualizing, manipulating, capturing, and storage of data with associated attributes. GIS offers better understanding of patterns and relationships of the landscape at different scales. Tools inside the GIS allow for manipulation of data for spatial analysis or cartography.
A topographical map is the main type of map used to depict elevation, often through use of contour lines. In a Geographic Information System (GIS), digital elevation models (DEM) are commonly used to represent the surface (topography) of a place, through a raster (grid) dataset of elevations. Digital terrain models are another way to represent terrain in GIS.
USGS (United States Geologic Survey) is developing a 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to keep up with growing needs for high quality topographic data. 3DEP is a collection of enhanced elevation data in the form of high quality LiDAR data over the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories. There are three bare earth DEM layers in 3DEP which are nationally seamless at the resolution of 1/3, 1, and 2 arcseconds.
This map is derived from GTOPO30 data that describes the elevation of Earth's terrain at intervals of 30 arcseconds (approximately 1 km). It uses hypsometric tints instead of contour lines to indicate elevation.
|Each tile is available at a resolution of 1800 × 1800 pixels (approximate file size 1 MB, 60 pixels = 1 degree, 1 pixel = 1 minute)|
In the mountaineering parlance of the Western United States, a fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. There are 96 fourteeners in the United States, all west of the Mississippi River. Colorado has the most (53) of any single state; Alaska is in second place with 29. Many peak baggers try to climb all fourteeners in the contiguous United States, one particular state, or another region.
The Sea Level Datum of 1929 was the vertical datum established for vertical control surveying in the United States of America by the General Adjustment of 1929. The datum was used to measure the elevation of a point above and depression below mean sea level (MSL).
The North American Vertical Datum of 1988 is the vertical datum for orthometric heights established for vertical control surveying in the United States of America based upon the General Adjustment of the North American Datum of 1988.
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