Altitude is the third value used for Coordinates. Since in many sims world extands up to over 5000 meters, a special article about altitude was required.
All sims have the same altitude coordinates. There is no sim placed up or down. The main differences are the ground elevation, water level and maximum altitude limit.
The lowest altitude is zero, by default. There is no altitude below it. Also, there is no way an avatar can exist below ground level. Objects can sometimes be pushed below ground, but never below zero altitude.
Highest border is defined more different. For building, usually the border is set to 4096 meters, both for mainland and private-owned sims. There are a lot of exceptions. For example, at the Premium Continents, building limit is set much lower, so skyboxes are not allowed. For flying, maximum altitude is a bit over 5000 meters. The maximum limit for flying is not the same. In places where ground altitude is higher, fly limit is higher, but with less then the maximum ground altitude. There are a few sim (in Bay City and not only) where fly limit is set to a lower value and sims where flying is not allowed.
Water is set to a specific height for an entire sim. There are sims where water altitude is set to zero or where it is set to a high value. Sea level is set to 12...19 meters.
A skybox is a building at high altitude, invisible from ground. At even higher altitudes, ground is no longer visible. In many places, this means that we have multiple worlds: one on the ground that is most easy to be seen and many other paralel layers at different altitudes, more difficult to be seen.
Building in skyboxes has some major advantages. First of all, it gives an extra intimacy. In moderate sims, sex is allowed only behind closed doors, never in public, so a skybox is the best place for such activities. A second advantage is that skyboxes are not disturbed by high-lag processes on ground. So, if you move to a skybox 1000 meters above ground, the simulator will no longer need to load to your computer data about ground objects. A third advantage is that that the chance for an unwanted visitor to enter a skybox is a lot lower then on ground.
There is a tendince to build skyboxes on certain altitudes (like 1000, 2000 or 4096 meters). To find more intimacy, build your skybox at an altitude that is not round, for example 3375 meters.
This feature is very important for every Geography project. Every sim has a ground and that ground has a specific altitude. In the following images, there are altitude maps for all continents. The only exception is Shopping Continent where altitude is the same for all sims (about 30 meters):
These are the maximum heights for each continent, in meters:
- Heterocera - 389
- Sharp Continent - 350
- Sansara - 315
- Gaeta 5 - 168
- Nautilus - 160...180
- Corsica - 163
- Jeogeot - 160
- Premium East - 156
- Premium South 2 - 156
- Premium South 3 - 156
- Uhre Continent - over 130
- Irish - Bonaire - 135 (?)
- Satori - 128
- Zindra - 100 - 120
- Gaeta 1 - 100
- Estate Continent - 94
- Eden - 81
- Wild West - 79
- Europe Continent - 66
- Mar Lesbiana - 65
- Premium South 1 - 60
- Caledon - Winterfel - 50...60
- Blake Sea - 40...60
- IGBC Continent - 40...60
- Seductive Continent - 39
- Fairchang - 20...40
- Shopping Continent - 34
Highest mountains (above 200 meters)
All these mountains are found in Heterocera (central mountain rahge - Mountains Of Heterocera), Sharp Continent (Svecia sim and Sharp Snowlands - Mountains Of Sharp Continent) and in Sansara (Snowlands and transition land - Snowlands Subcontinent).
Mountain, hosting sim, continent - altitude (meters):
- Castle Bella - Champion sim, Heterocera - 364 (389 meters on top of the castle)
- Campanula (Campanula sim), Heterocera - 357 (426 on top of the giant tree)
- Phasa (Phasa sim), Heterocera - 341
- Svacia (Svacia sim), Sharp Continent - 339 (350 with the building on top)
- Arches (Arches sim), Heterocera - 330 (measured with low accuracy, Land With Restricted Access)
- Tethys (Tethys sim), Sansara - 315 meters (measured with low accuracy, land with restricted access)
- Spinach - spinach sim, Heterocera - 314
- South Kanin, Kanin, Sansara - 310
- Bydalen (Bydalen sim), Sansara - 308
- Simple's Mountain retreat, Plebeja, Heterocera - 302 (305 on building top)
- West Davos, Davos, Sansara - 301
- Kanin (Kanin sim), Sansara - 294
- Brocade Brocade sim, Heterocera - 270 meters
- East Bydalen, Bydalen, Sansara - 262
- North Svacia, Svacia, Sharp continent - 260
- North Tethys, Tethys, Sansara - 257
- Cascade (Cascade sim), Sharp continent - 255 meters
- God Meeting spot, Rogla, Sansara - 251 (261 meters with building)
- East Davos, Davos, Sansara - 246
- Ski Run, Moen, Sansara, 245
- Lota (Lota sim), Heterocera - 222
- Jaffee (Jaffee sim), Sansara - 222
- Sierra (Sierra sim), Sharp continent - 217
- Nolidae (Nolidae sim), Heterocera - 214
- Silk Water Mountains, Verbier, Sansara - 211 (232 meters with statue above)
- Koss (Koss sim), Sansara - 206
- Buddhist Monastery, Livigno, Sansara - 203
- Mizithra (Mizithra sim), Sharp continent - 202
- Anzare (Anzare sim), Sansara - 200
Shoofly, Sansara, 191 meters
Second Life Geography team visited 6000 private-owned sims. 90% of all these sims have altitude below 50 meters, while 7% have maximum altitude between 50 and 100 meters. Higher peaks then 100 meters are very rare and higher then 150 meters were detected only in one place (see below). No mountain higher then 200 meters exist. See List Of Microcontinents And Sim Clusters for detail.
The highest found altitude is in Confederation of Democratic Simulators microcontinent, with 183 meters high and a high castle on top.