# Reference ellipsoid

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Reference ellipsoid
Geodesy

Fundamentals Geodesy · Geodynamics Geomatics · Cartography Concepts Datum · Distance · Geoid Fig. Earth · Geodetic sys. Geog. coord. system Hor. pos. represent. Lat./Long. · Map proj. Ref. ellipsoid · Sat. geodesy Spatial ref. sys. Technologies GNSS · GPS · GLONASS · IRNSS Standards ED50 · ETRS89 · GRS 80 NAD83 · NAVD88 · SAD69 SRID · UTM · WGS84 History History of geodesy NAVD29

In geodesy, a reference ellipsoid is a mathematically-defined surface that approximates the geoid, the truer figure of the Earth, or other planetary body. Because of their relative simplicity, reference ellipsoids are used as a preferred surface on which geodetic network computations are performed and point coordinates such as latitude, longitude, and elevation are defined.

Ellipsoid parameters
In 1687 Isaac Newton published the Principia in which he included a proof [1] that a rotating self-gravitating fluid body in equilibrium takes the form of an oblate ellipsoid of revolution which he termed an oblate spheroid. Current practice (2012) [2] [3] uses the word 'ellipsoid' alone in preference to the full term 'oblate ellipsoid of revolution' or the older term 'oblate spheroid'. In the rare instances (some asteroids and planets) where a more general ellipsoid shape is required as a model the term used is triaxial (or scalene) ellipsoid. A great many ellipsoids have been used with various sizes and centres but modern (post GPS) ellipsoids are centred at the actual center of mass of the Earth or body being modeled. The shape of an (oblate) ellipsoid (of revolution) is determined by the shape parameters of that ellipse which generates the ellipsoid when it is rotated about its minor axis. The semi-major axis of the ellipse, a, is identified as the equatorial radius of the ellipsoid: the semi-minor axis of the ellipse, b, is identified with the polar distances (from the centre). These two lengths completely specify the shape of the ellipsoid but in practice geodesy publications classify reference ellipsoids by giving the semi-major axis and the inverse flattening, 1/f, The flattening, f, is simply

with a flattening of less than 1/825. Coordinates A primary use of reference ellipsoids is to serve as a basis for a coordinate system of latitude (north/south). which is the angle between the equatorial plane and a line from the center of the ellipsoid. They are listed in ellipse. is around 1/300 corresponding to a difference of the major and minor semi-axes of approximately 21 km.e. Depending on the flattening. and that used in the context of the Global Positioning System.. The longitude measures the rotational angle between the zero meridian and the measured point. Modern geodetic datums are established with the aid of GPS and will therefore be geocentric. and is represented as angle from −90° to +90°. it may be slightly different from the geocentric (geographic) latitude. See Geodetic system for more detail. It is possible for many different coordinate systems to be defined upon the same reference ellipsoid. Earth's Moon is even less elliptical. The following table lists some of the most common ellipsoids: . longitude (east/west). and Sun it is expressed as degrees ranging from −180° to +180° For other bodies a range of 0° to 360° is used. b and f. and the height h of the point over the reference ellipsoid. The latitude measures how close to the poles or equator a point is along a meridian. which for Mars is the meridian passing through the crater Airy-0. The coordinates of a geodetic point are customarily stated as geodetic latitude and longitude. is the one defined by WGS 84.. A great many other parameters are used in geodesy but they can all be related to one or two of the set a. e. where 0° is the equator. ED50. For other bodies a fixed surface feature is usually referenced. is nearly 1/3 to 1/2. i. Some precise values are given in the table below and also in Figure of the Earth. Moon. Historical Earth ellipsoids Currently the most common reference ellipsoid used.g. WGS 84.Reference ellipsoid a measure of how much the symmetry axis is compressed relative to the equatorial radius: 2 For the Earth. The common or geodetic latitude is the angle between the equatorial plane and a line that is normal to the reference ellipsoid. e.. For comparison. while Jupiter is visibly oblate at about 1/15 and one of Saturn's triaxial moons. By convention for the Earth. which for Earth is usually the Prime Meridian. For this purpose it is necessary to identify a zero meridian. For non-Earth bodies the terms planetographic and planetocentric are used instead. and elevation (height).g. Telesto. Traditional reference ellipsoids or geodetic datums are defined regionally and therefore non-geocentric. the direction in space of the geodetic normal containing the point.

isbn=3-11-017072-8 [3] Snyder.8 6 356 078. their satellites. Small moons. Airy 1830 Clarke 1866 Bessel 1841 6 377 563. John P. ISBN 0-226-76747-7.4. (2005). a scalene (triaxial) ellipsoid is a better fit than the oblate spheroid. where its north and south polar radii differ by approximately 6 km. so sometimes a spherical reference is used instead and points identified by planetocentric latitude and longitude. which includes all the rocky planets and many moons. Notes [1] Isaac Newton:Principia Book III Proposition XIX Problem III. having no bulge at its equator.3141 298. University of Chicago Press.Simple feature access . p. Where possible a fixed observable surface feature is used when defining a reference meridian. asteroids and comet nuclei. W (2001) Geodesy (3rd edition). such as Eros. (1993). 407 in Andrew Motte translation.978 698 2 299. asteroids. Even that can be problematic for non-convex bodies. 203–215.9 6 356 863 299. such as Jupiter's Io.Reference ellipsoid 3 Name Equatorial axis (m) Polar axis (m) Inverse flattening. References • P. Since they have no permanent observable features the choices of prime meridians are made according to mathematical rules. in that latitude and longitude don't always uniquely identify a single surface location.257 222 101 6 356 752. however this difference is small enough that the average polar radius is used to define its ellipsoid. published by de Gruyter.4 6 377 397. available on line at (http:/ / books. Seidelmann (Chair).usgs. The Earth's Moon is effectively spherical.gov/Projects/WGCCRE • OpenGIS Implementation Specification for Geographic information . “Report Of The IAU/IAG Working Group On Cartographic Coordinates And Rotational Elements: 2003.152 843 4 297 298. and comet nuclei frequently have irregular shapes. Annex B. com/ books?id=6EqxPav3vIsC& pg=PA239) [2] Torge. For highly irregular bodies the concept of a reference ellipsoid may have no useful value. 91.4 6 378 206. For some of these. Some well observed bodies such as the Moon and Mars now have quite precise reference ellipsoids. p. K.3142 298. For rigid-surface nearly-spherical bodies. ellipsoids are defined in terms of the axis of rotation and the mean surface height excluding any atmosphere.9 6 356 583.299 738 1 International 1924 6 378 388 Krasovsky 1940 GRS 1980 WGS 1984 6 378 245 6 378 137 6 378 137 6 356 752. an effective surface for an ellipsoid is chosen as the equal-pressure boundary of one bar.Part 1: Common architecture. pp. et al. • Web address: http://astrogeology.324 975 3 294.965 6 356 911. 2005-11-30 .” Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy.155 6 356 256. Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections.257 223 563 6 371 000 Sphere (6371 km) 6 371 000 Ellipsoids for other planetary bodies Reference ellipsoids are also useful for geodetic mapping of other planetary bodies including planets. google. Mars is actually egg shaped. For gaseous planets like Jupiter. 82.

posc.ibm. Frames and Datums (http://www.agnld.ibm.de/~shw/3_References/0_GPS/ GPSHelmert1.boulder.html) .org/Epicentre.org 4 External links • Coordinate System Index (http://www.com/infocenter/db2luw/v8/topic/com.be/help/background/coortran/coortran. udb.Reference ellipsoid • Web address: http://www.2_2/DataModel/ExamplesofUsage/eu_cs.doc/opt/csb3022a.uni-potsdam.oma.spenvis. html) (SPENVIS help page) • Coordinate Systems.htm) • Coordinate systems and transformations (http://www.db2.opengeospatial.html) • Geographic coordinate system (http://publib.

R. Zhangmoon618. Thelb4. Sanya3.org/w/index. Krauss. Aucheukyin. Alanfeynman. Michael Hardy. UsagiM.0 Unported //creativecommons. Peter Mercator.org/licenses/by-sa/3. RockMagnetist.php?oldid=490498616  Contributors: A.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Fleshgrinder License Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3. Giftlite. CraigKeogh.svg  Source: http://en. Licenses and Contributors File:Blank_globe.e. Serdelll. Geoeg.wikipedia.org/w/index. 39 anonymous edits Image Sources. Fgnievinski. Colanderman. Pdn.php?title=File:Blank_globe. TelecomNut. Chowbok.Article Sources and Contributors 5 Article Sources and Contributors Reference ellipsoid  Source: http://en. Redrose64. Brian0918. Dantheox. Waggers. Yqbear. Vermeer. AnAj. After Midnight.. Dbenbenn.0/ . Kaimbridge. Petri Krohn. Joe Kress. Sleske. Gamernb. Ppwu. Dannsuk. Mrg3105. Charles Matthews. Klower. BenFrantzDale. Geof. Headintheclouds24. Dmeranda. Kkddkkdd. Fuzzy Logic. TimBentley. Incnis Mrsi. Citynoise. Amin Hashem. Geonarva. Strebe.wikipedia. SilkTork. Arcfrk. UnitedStatesian. JamesBWatson.b.K.. Ary29.