What is this?
This site was designed to help you find the height above sea level of your current location, or any point on Earth. When viewed from a phone that supports altitude readings, the reading will come directly from your device altitude reading and will update automatically as you move. It will even work when your phone is offline. From a computer your elevation is loaded from our API based on your location.
What is elevation?
Elevation is a measurement of height above sea level. Elevation typically refers to the height of a point on the earth’s surface, and not in the air. Altitude is a measurement of an object’s height, often referring to your height above the ground (such as in an airplane or a satellite). While elevation is often the preferred term for the height of your current location, altitude and height above sea level are also common.
How is elevation calculated?
Using an Altimeter
An altimeter is an instrument used to measure altitude. Altitude is measured with an altimeter by calculating differences in atmospheric pressure. Inside of an altimeter is a barometer which is a device that measures pressure in the air. As you travel upwards, the pressure decreases which causes the bellows inside the barometer to expand. The bellows then give you an accurate reading of your height above sea level regardless of whether you are on the ground, in a tree, or in an airplane. Modern smartphones contain a barometer that can be used as an altimeter to measure elevation or to calculate the number of steps you have climbed.
In areas with poor GPS reception an altimeter can be more accurate than GPS-based elevation readings and do not require an Internet connection.
Using a Digital Elevation Model
Satellite data from NASA and other public agencies can be combined to create what is called a DEM or Digital Elevation Model which is a detailed list of elevation values for points on the Earth’s surface. You can then use GPS to fetch the value elevation reading in the DEM.
When we look at representations of the earth we typically see a perfectly circular sphere. But the reality is that the surface of the earth is rather corrugated, rugged and irregular. These irregularities and variations in the earth’s surface determine the acceleration of gravity, which vicariously creates the shape of the earth’s liquids. If we were to hypothetically subtract winds, tides and other external forces that alter bodies of water we would be left with something known as the geoid. It is the shape that the Earth’s surface would take if it were all one big ocean without winds or tides. The geoid is purely hypothetical though, but it is used as a reference for land surveyors to determine elevation based on what the sea-level would have been for a given point on Earth without land. This is also referred to as “height above mean sea level”.
The planet earth is extremely large and has radically diverse elevations. For example, the highest point on earth is Mt. Everest, which is about 29,000 feet above sea level. The lowest point on earth is the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific, which is approximately 35,000 feet below sea level, which is close to seven miles deep! The location with the highest elevation in the United States is Denali in Alaska. The lowest point is the Badwater Basin, 281ft below sea level.
How do you find your elevation?
Using this website you can find out your elevation no matter where you are. How does this site determine your precise elevation? The site receives GPS data from your phone. This satellite technology is also used to determine your precise location and help you navigate in apps like Google Maps.
Your phone acts as a receiver for satellite data. The time it takes for each of the satellite signals to reach the receiver are measured in relation to each other and to the speed of light. Because each of the satellites is in a different place, the three signals can be used to estimate a three dimensional position and can determine your position on the Earth to an extremely high degree of accuracy.
Using this site you can determine elevation for any location in the world, whether you are there or not. Simply enter an address anywhere in the world and you will be given its elevation in either feet or meters.
Web vs phone elevation
When you use the site on a mobile device with a built-in altimeter, your elevation is determined by your phone’s built-in altitude reading by default (this will show up as “according to your phone”). This method may be less accurate when you need the exact elevation for your location, but has the advantage of giving you real-time altitude updates as you move. This also allows you to bookmark our site to use when you are not connected to the Internet.
When visiting from a desktop computer, or when searching for an address, your elevation is determined by your GPS coordinates based on satellite data.
Our elevation atlas has a list of countries and cities to help you find the elevation of any location in the world. You can also use the search bar to find any location in the world.