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An ellipsoid is a shape like a sphere, but it may be longer in one or more directions, like an egg, or a rugby ball. It is the 3 dimensional analogue of an ellipse.

The Earth is shaped slightly like an ellipsoid. Its shape is called an oblate spheroid. An ellipsoid shaped like the Earth, called a reference ellipsoid, is often preferred to the geoid because it makes calculations simpler.

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