Altimeter question

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Anonymous's picture

I was wondering if anyone can help me out. I just bought an altimeter and I have to enter my home altitude. How can I get this information or does anyone know the exact altitude at certain points in Manhattan like in Central Park where I can go and set it. Thanks in advance for your help.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Look at the Central Park loop map in the ride library.

There is an altitude log (I think based on Delorme's software) showing the lowest spot to be about 30 ft. and the highest about 130 ft.

Otherwise, you know that all the rivers around NYC are basically at sea level and you can 'guestimate' from there.

Anonymous's picture
B. Dale (not verified)


I have a National Geographic mapping program that gives elevations. It says that the corner of 5th Ave and 79th Street has an elevation of 75 feet. Email me if you'd like the elevation for an intersection closer to your apartment (I remember you're on the U. East Side, but forget where).


Anonymous's picture
ted (not verified)
initial setting

Unfortunately, you will find that due to barometric pressure changes, your altimeter will vary a couple hundred feet over time. So, the intital setting does not mean that much.

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
Highest point - 184th Street and Fort Washington Boulevard

'The Highest Natural Point on Manhattan: 265.05 Feet Above Sea Level. USC & GS Datum.''
Fort Washington/Bennett Park
(Long Hill),
Manhattan, New York, 284 Feet
184th Street and Fort Washington Boulevard

GW Bridge Deck is 63.6 meters (~210 feet) above sea level.

Lowest point in Central Park is approximately 30 ft above
sea level

Anonymous's picture
Hector Roman (not verified)
Thanks to af, Ben and Rich

I went to 79th and 5th and set the altimeter at 75 feet. I rode up Harlem Hill and was getting percent gradients of 4,5 and even briefly 6 percent so it seems to be working accurately. Thanks to Ben, Rich and af for your input. Ben, I'm sure we'll be riding a lot together soon. Hi to Elena for me.

Anonymous's picture
robert meyer (not verified)
gradient not dependent on setting altimeter

percent gradient works off of change in elevation so it doesn't matter if the initial setting is 75 or 1000 feet

Anonymous's picture
Hector Roman (not verified)

Thanks for the update, I will double check the altitude next time I ride with someone who also has an altimeter.

Anonymous's picture
robert meyer (not verified)
I never set mine

I have an altimeter on my cyclocomputer but I never use it. 1) Its kind of a pain to set and 2) it would have to be reset everytime I go out because its sensitive to the weather conditions of the day.
(That said I use the percent gradient all the time because as I mentioned earlier its a relative not an absolute measure.)

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

Go to a site or obtain a map with elevation contours. Find out what the elevation is at the location of your apartment then estimate what the elevation is at the level of your apartment or the place you keep your bike. Every time you go out to ride just reset it for this same elevation. Values will change if the weather does during your ride. If you want to be more accurate, note the reading it gives at the end of the ride and see how much it has varied.

An increase in high pressure will lower your reading while low pressure will raise them.

Anonymous's picture
david (not verified)

Airports have accurately reported elevations -- pilots tend to like to know that sort of thing. Next time you are near a small airport like Westchester or Teterboro, take a reading from the parking lot. You can easily find the correct number from multiple web sites.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Accuracy for cycling use is limited by the technology.

As noted above, they use air pressure which varies according to the weather as well as the elevation. Some use algorithms which supposedly distinguish some weather changes from elevation changes; however, these are more effective for an activity like mountain climbing with large variations in elevation over a long period of time. They also recommend that you reset it periodically during the day at known elevation points.

In order to track your total vertical gain on cycling routes such as we have around NYC, without any major peaks, you have to set the sampling rate as short as possible to pick up the little grades, which eats the battery pretty fast.

So you might find it useful; just keep its limitations in mind.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Google Earth

"You can download Google Earth free of cost. It gives elevations. I tried 5th Ave and 79th St (see Ben's post above), and it gave 71 ft.

(Disclaimer: I don't own stock in Google, alas.)"

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