Difference Wiki

Elevation vs. Altitude: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 18, 2023
Elevation refers to the height of a point above a reference level, usually the earth's surface, while altitude indicates the height of an object or point in the atmosphere above sea level.

Key Differences

Elevation denotes the height of a specific point or location above a given reference, typically sea level or the earth's surface. Altitude, meanwhile, commonly measures the height of an object (like an aircraft) or a point relative to sea level within the atmosphere.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
When discussing landscapes or topography, we often use elevation to denote the height of terrains, mountains, or buildings above the surrounding area or sea level. In contrast, altitude primarily emerges in contexts like aviation, detailing how high an aircraft is flying above the sea.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
Elevation pertains to fixed points on the Earth's surface, such as the height of landforms or the level of construction floors. Altitude can be more transient, focusing on points or objects that can change their height within the atmosphere, like balloons or drones.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
It's essential to consider context. While elevation will always describe terrestrial points above a reference, altitude can sometimes describe heights on other celestial bodies. For instance, the altitude of a spacecraft above the surface of Mars.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
To sum it up, think of elevation as height on or above the ground, and altitude as height in the air or space, often above sea level.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Definition

Height above a fixed reference, usually sea level
Height of an object or point above sea level
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Common Context

Landforms, topography, buildings
Aviation, atmospheric studies, space exploration
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Fixed vs. Transient

Refers to fixed points on Earth
Can be transient, e.g., flying aircraft
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Earth-centric?

Mostly refers to Earth points
Can also describe heights on other celestial bodies
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Measurement Devices

Topographic maps, altimeters (in some contexts)
Altimeters (especially in aviation)
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023
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Elevation and Altitude Definitions

Elevation

Height of a point above a fixed reference.
The elevation of Denver is around 5,280 feet.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Altitude

An elevated region or place.
The altitude of the Andes makes them a challenging trek.
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Elevation

The height above the horizon of a celestial object.
The sun's elevation changes throughout the day.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Altitude

Height of an object or point in relation to sea level or ground level.
The plane is flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Elevation

A moral or intellectual improvement or upliftment.
The seminar provided an elevation of spirits among attendees.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Altitude

The vertical distance from the baseline in a triangle to its opposite vertex.
The altitude bisects the base of the triangle.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Elevation

The act or an instance of elevating
The slow elevation of body temperature.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

The height of a celestial object above the observer's horizon.
The star's altitude is best observed at midnight.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Elevation

The condition of being elevated
Her elevation among scholars.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

The height of a thing above a reference level, especially above sea level or above the earth's surface.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The height to which something is elevated above a point of reference, especially mean sea level
The ridge rises to an elevation of 3,000 feet.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Great height or elevation
Has trouble breathing at altitude.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The angular distance of an object above the observer's horizon.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Often altitudes A high location or area.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

An elevated place or position
The hill is the highest elevation around here.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

(Astronomy) The angular distance above the observer's horizon of a celestial object.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

Loftiness or dignity, as of thought or feeling
A passage noted for its elevation of style.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

(Mathematics) The perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure to the opposite vertex, parallel side, or parallel surface.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

A scale drawing of the side, front, or rear of a structure.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

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.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The ability to achieve height in a jump, as in ballet.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

A vertical distance.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The degree of height reached when such a jump is executed.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

(geometry) 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.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

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
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

(astronomy) The angular distance of a heavenly body above our Earth's horizon.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The condition of being or feeling elevated; heightened; exaltation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Height of rank or excellence; superiority.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

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
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Elevation of spirits; heroics; haughty airs.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The measured vertical distance from the peak of a mountain or hill to its bordering lowlands.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Highest point or degree.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The angle which the gnomon makes with the substylar line.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Space extended upward; height; the perpendicular elevation of an object above its foundation, above the ground, or above a given level, or of one object above another; as, the altitude of a mountain, or of a bird above the top of a tree.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

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.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

The elevation of a point, or star, or other celestial object, above the horizon, measured by the arc of a vertical circle intercepted between such point and the horizon. It is either true or apparent; true when measured from the rational or real horizon, apparent when from the sensible or apparent horizon.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

(architecture) 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.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

The perpendicular distance from the base of a figure to the summit, or to the side parallel to the base; as, the altitude of a triangle, pyramid, parallelogram, frustum, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The raising of the host—representing Christ’s body—in a mass or Holy Communion service.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Height of degree; highest point or degree.
He is [proud] even to the altitude of his virtue.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The act of raising from a lower place, condition, or quality to a higher; - said of material things, persons, the mind, the voice, etc.; as, the elevation of grain; elevation to a throne; elevation of mind, thoughts, or character.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Height of rank or excellence; superiority.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

Condition of being elevated; height; exaltation.
His style . . . wanted a little elevation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Elevation of spirits; heroics; haughty airs.
The man of law began to get into his altitude.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

That which is raised up or elevated; an elevated place or station; as, an elevation of the ground; a hill.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Elevation especially above sea level or above the earth's surface;
The altitude gave her a headache
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The distance of a celestial object above the horizon, or the arc of a vertical circle intercepted between it and the horizon; altitude; as, the elevation of the pole, or of a star.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

The perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure to opposite vertex (or side if parallel)
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The angle which the style makes with the substylar line.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object)
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

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 o sight; - distinguished from direction.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Altitude

A high location or area.
Mountain climbers must acclimate to high altitudes.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Elevation

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.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The event of something being raised upward;
An elevation of the temperature in the afternoon
A raising of the land resulting from volcanic activity
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The highest level or degree attainable;
His landscapes were deemed the acme of beauty
The artist's gifts are at their acme
At the height of her career
The peak of perfection
Summer was at its peak
...catapulted Einstein to the pinnacle of fame
The summit of his ambition
So many highest superlatives achieved by man
At the top of his profession
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object)
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

A raised or elevated geological formation
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

Distance of something above a reference point (such as sea level);
There was snow at the higher elevations
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

(ballet) the height of a dancer's leap or jump;
A dancer of exceptional elevation
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

Drawing of an exterior of a structure
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The act of increasing the wealth or prestige or power or scope of something;
The aggrandizement of the king
His elevation to cardinal
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 31, 2022

Elevation

The action or fact of elevating or being elevated.
The elevation of the new bridge improved traffic flow.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Elevation

A raised level or platform.
The speaker stood on an elevation to address the crowd.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

FAQs

Can "elevation" refer to an act of raising something?

Yes, as in "elevation of a platform."
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Does "elevation" only pertain to heights on Earth?

Mostly, but in certain contexts, it can refer to heights on other celestial bodies.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Is "altitude" primarily used in aviation?

Yes, it's commonly used to describe the height of aircraft above sea level.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Is "altitude sickness" related to heights on land?

Yes, it's a condition that can occur at high elevations due to reduced air pressure and oxygen levels.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Which term relates more to topography?

"Elevation" often relates to topographical heights.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Does "altitude" always measure from sea level?

Commonly, but not always. For instance, in aviation, "density altitude" factors in temperature and atmospheric pressure.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Are "elevation" and "altitude" interchangeable?

Not always; while similar, "elevation" typically refers to heights on land, while "altitude" often pertains to heights in the air.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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