Curvature of Earth

Estimate the curvature of Earth over distances less than 1000 miles
Updated 1 Apr 2016

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This is a simple model of Earth Curvature.

% Syntax
C = earthcurve(x,y)
C = earthcurve(x,y,xo,yo)

% Description
C = earthcurve(x,y) gives the curvature of the Earth in meters as a function of distance x,y in meters.

C = earthcurve(x,y,xo,yo) specifies a reference location (xo,yo) for the calculation. If (xo,yo) is not specified, (xo,yo) is taken as the mean values of x and y by default.

% Example
Assuming the Bedford Level Experiment ( was a fluke, The Earth should curve down about 8 inches in the first mile. At mile 2, the Earth should curve down about 32 inches. Converting to metric, there should be a drop of 0.2 m at a distance of 1609.3 m and there at a distance of 3218.7 m the drop should be 0.81 m. For distance set x = [0 1609.3 3218.7] and let y be zeros. Set the reference point (xo,yo) = (0,0).

x = [0 1609.3 3218.7];
y = [0 0 0];
ans =
0 0.20 0.81

Cite As

Chad Greene (2024). Curvature of Earth (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2012b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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Version Published Release Notes

Fixed an error check.
Fixed automatic function renaming from last update.

Fixed an error check.