EGM96 and EGM2008 and Other Geoid Grids

Geoid models created by NGA, which provide mean sea level everywhere on earth .  These have the height above the ellipsoid in meters, and should range up to approximately 100 m in absolute value.  NGA produces grids and  the model with coefficients, and code to create your own grids or values at any location.  The RMS difference between EGM96 and EGM2008 is about 0.5 m, with the maximum differences of about 10 m in places like ocean trenches.  Add the grid values to to the ellipsoid height to get the geoid height.

Gravity Model (vertical datum) EPSG code Numerical coefficients to spherical harmomics Grid downloads References Notes
WGS84 ellipsoid 4979        
EGM2020         EGM2020 is to be a new release with the same structure as EGM2008, but with improved accuracy by incorporating newer data.  It is at almost two years late now (March 2022).


3855 2160 EGM2008 is provided as a set of normalized, geopotential coefficients complete to degree and order 2159, and contains additional spherical harmonic coefficients extending to degree 2190 and order 2159. Also provided is a 2.5-minute worldwide geoid height file, precomputed from the EGM2008.
EGM96 5773 360 Grid has 15 arc minute resolution EGM96 is provided as a set of normalized, geopotential coefficients to degree and order 360. Also provided is a 15-minute worldwide geoid height file, precomputed from the EGM96.
EGM84 5798 180     This existed, but is only of historical interest at this point.

National Datums and Conversion to EGM

NAVD88 to other datums:  has GTX files




GDAL reads a number of the grid shift files needed for the vertical datum shifts and can convert to Geotiff:

Online calculation:

Using EGM Grids in MICRODEM

The grids are downloaded with the geology download, and then files will be in  available in  C:\mapdata\geology\geology_grids


Last revision 12/18/2021