satellite altitude ?

From: Gavin Eadie (
Date: Mon Dec 09 2013 - 06:36:42 UTC

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    I’ve written a few a satellite tracking programs and, comparing with other programs, I notice we agree very precisely on location but differ in altitude.  With ISS, for example, our altitudes agree to within 100 meters on equator crossing, but are much further off (~20 Kms) at high latitudes.  I presume this is because I am taking the oblate Earth into account, so I was wondering if there’s a tradition or standard for satellite altitude value when the “altitude of ground level” varies.  It’s not a huge deal, but the question has been nagging me, and this seems The Place to ask!  Thanks .. Gavin
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