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The hypothetical surface of the Earth that coincides everywhere with mean sea level and is perpendicular, at every point, to the direction of gravity. The geoid is used as a reference surface for astronomical measurements and for the accurate measurement of elevations on the Earth's surface.
model of the figure of the Earth-i.e., of the planet's size and shape-that coincides with mean sea level over the oceans and continues in continental areas as an imaginary sea-level surface defined by spirit level. It serves as a reference surface from which topographic heights and ocean depths are measured. The scientific discipline concerned with the precise figure of the Earth and its determination and significance is known as geodesy.