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Altimeter

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An Altimeter is a piece of navigational equipment used to determine altitude above a fixed plane - most commonly sea level.

Contents

Types of equipment

Barometric Altimeter

As altitude increases, barometric pressure decreases, by about one millibar for every 27 feet when in relative proximity to sea level. If the pressure has been set at a known height any deviation from this height can be calculated from the change in pressure.

Advantages

  • Relatively cheap

Disadvantages

  • Height has to be known from a separate source for reference value to be set.
  • Pressure can change naturally, for example if a storm front was to arrive, this would change the barometric pressure without any change in height giving a false reading.

GPS Altimeters

These work on the basis of triangulation, however, more then 3 satellites are required and so is only restricted to top end GPS units for any true accuracy. Most GPS units work off barometric pressure.

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