Fr.: ellipsoïde de référence
A mathematically defined surface that approximates the Earth's shape, which is basically a sphere "flattened" at its poles. The length of one of the axes at the Equator is chosen so that the ellipsoid coincides at this latitude with the mean sea level. It is the first-order definition of the non-spherical shape of the Earth as an ellipsoid of revolution. To first order, it accounts for over 90% of the → geoid.