[Proj] Geodesic distances away from the ellipsoid

Clifford J Mugnier cjmce at lsu.edu
Fri Mar 20 13:03:07 EST 2009

There is an old ESSA or NOAA publication that directly addressed "The Great Ellipse" and also included all the math for hyperbolic lattice computations as well as for Rho-Rho systems.  I don't remember the exact title, but it was mainly addressed to the Hydrographic Surveyor.  My guess is that's exactly what you are looking for.  It's somewhere in my office library on campus, but I won't get there until Monday.  Call me and remind me after 10:00 AM and I'll look it up, I think I know the bookcase it's in.  I'll bet John Stigant and Noel have a copy, too.
Clifford J. Mugnier, C.P., C.M.S.
Past National Director (2006-2008),
Photogrammetric Applications Division
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 
Chief of Geodesy,
Department of Civil Engineering 
Patrick F. Taylor Hall 3223A
Baton Rouge, LA  70803
Voice and Facsimile:  (225) 578-8536 [Academic] 
Honorary Life Member of the 
Louisiana Society of Professional Surveyors 
Member Emeritus of the ASPRS 
Member of the Americas Petroleum Survey Group


From: proj-bounces at lists.maptools.org on behalf of Jay Hollingsworth
Sent: Fri 20-Mar-09 11:56
To: proj at lists.maptools.org
Subject: [Proj] Geodesic distances away from the ellipsoid

At the risk of asking a dumb question, do any of the geodesic
algorithms allow calculation of the geodesic distance if the path is
not on the ellipsoid? Like in an airplane or satellite whose path
could be assumed to be a constant height above the ellipsoid?

Or do you have to define an ellipsoid matching the satellite orbit
and use the normal equations on that ellipsoid? If so, how would you
define an ellipsoid for a long airplane flight?

I've poked around and nothing has jumped out at me. I assume
aero-engineers guys figured this out long ago....

Jay Hollingsworth

Seabed Portfolio Manager and
Principal Data Architect
Schlumberger Information Solutions
phone: 713 513 8854 fax: 713 513 2093

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