An often overlooked feature of Google Earth, elevation profiles werefirst introduced in version 5.2. The feature is easy to use, all you need is a path selected in your ‘My Places’ then go to the ‘Edit’ menu and select ‘Show Elevation Profile’.
If you want the elevation profile of a slice through a mountain or valley, simply draw a straight line using the ‘Add Path’ tool on the Google Earth toolbar. But it is not restricted to straight lines and much more often you will be interested in the elevation profile of a hike you are planning, or bicycle route. In this case, you can draw out the path as before, or if it is a route on roads/paths already marked on Google Earth, you can use the Get Directions feature right-click (CTRL click on Mac) on the blue line and select ‘Show Elevation Profile’.
Elevation profile of a route in the Swiss Alps.
If you hold your mouse over the elevation profile, it will show a red arrow on the map marking the location, and also display the height above sea level and gradient at that point.
Keep in mind that Google Earth’s elevation data is not very high resolution and should not be taken as anything more than a rough guide. We also discovered that on the route shown above there were several tunnels and bridges and the route in Google Earth that is used for the elevation profile follows the ground and not the actual road surface resulting in large bumps and dips in the elevation profile.
About Timothy Whitehead
Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working forRed Wing Aerobatxand lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
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Hello Timothy, thanks for the article. I have used this for a while now, but would liek to know if it is possible to “save place as” and have the elevation data included in a gpx file? I have not been able to do this yet, but thought you might know of a way to make this happen/
also see this post:
Using a straight path cross section for Elevation Profile, at some sizes I can get very detailed elevation information, but at full screen, it only gives me very general elevation changes. Is there anyway to “turn” Elevation Profile on so it will always give me the more detailed elevation changes? I am using routes of about 500 km.
There are a number of us out there who are using this feature to plan computer data links. How would I suggest some modification such as how to be able to set point heights at each node and add a straight line between nodes with a measurement ground to line. Currently I use the elevation Profile print it and manually draw the line (on paper or on computer) and make estimates from there. The Altitude Tab gets most of the way but not quite.
The Fresnel post and tools are a good start however they do not seem to work with Australian location Data. I have left a message with Loxcel to see if the is the case. The Viewshed is not quite what am after. Thanks very much for your post.
My bad I had a minus sign in the wrong place. I have what I need Thanks again
I remember about 8 years ago I’d measure elevation profiles between two different points for example A and B. And I used to set heights for A end and B end manually to see at what height I’d have line of site between the 2 ends. I’ve not used G earth since then and I’m not sure that feature still is there.
Can anyone please assist?
What should I do to get the only average slope ?. I must add positive and negative slope or average them ?. Thank you.
Is there a way to see a path between two points with the slightest slopes along the route. I need this to plan a canal between two points A and B. I would like to minimize the use of pumps to push the water up and rather prefer gravity. So a tool that can give me an estimate of canal length for doing the same would help a lot, to try and see the minimum effort necessary. Thanks.
See ifthis posthelps. It can draw contours. Keep in mind that the elevation data is not all that accurate so may not be helpful.
What is the source of elevation data used by Google Earth? Do they extracted it from ASTER GDEM/SRTM or any other data source?
I believe they have a wide variety of sources depending on the location.
Can I see elevation change with time using Google Earth? For example, for snowy region will there be any difference of elevation between winter and summer?
Is there any way to get the profile showing height above ground level – not above sea level ?
Do you have a KML track that has elevations in it?
Google Earth elevation profiles are great – except for the inability (as far as I can tell) to alter the vertical exaggeration. Too much VE can produce a very distorted picture of the terrain. Am i missing something, or do we just have to live with this limitation?
There is an ‘elevation exaggeration’ setting in ‘Tools->Options->3D View->Terrain’
but how do we change the Vertical Scale on the Elevation Profile? the 3D View doesnt alter this
grab the top of the elevation profile box window and stretch it up or down
No, Google Earth is not reliable for that kind of slope accuracy for specific coordinates. The density of elevation data varies according to location, with most of it sourced from Satellite Radar Topographic Mapping data with a vertical resolution of 30 meters and a horizontal resolution of 90 meters.Does Google Earth have elevation data? ›
Check the altitude of a place
Search for a place, or adjust Google Earth until you get to the view you want. At the bottom right find the real-world altitude and the altitude of the camera. If you move the mouse to hover over different locations, the altitude updates.
Each of the various aforementioned methods of obtaining elevation data, such as radar, LiDAR, or photogrammetry, produces differing accuracy levels. Of these methods, LiDAR generally yields the best spatial and vertical resolutions, yet, it is often prohibitively expensive at scale.How do you find accurate elevation data? ›
For most purposes other than engineering, interpolated point elevation values are sufficiently accurate. The Elevation Point Query Service, the Bulk Point Query Service, and the Spot Elevation widget within The National Map Viewer all query the same dataset and have the same accuracy.How do you read an elevation profile? ›
On elevation charts, the elevation (listed in feet or meters above sea level) is located on the left side of the chart and reads from low (on the bottom) to high (on the top). The distance of the race is located along the bottom of the chart and will read from left to right in miles or kilometers.Can Google Maps show elevation profile? ›
You can find your elevation on Google Maps by turning on the "Terrain" function. By default, Google Maps only shows elevation in mountainous areas — it doesn't report elevation everywhere. For more detailed elevation information, consider using Google Earth Pro.Is Google Earth Pro still free? ›
Google Earth Pro on desktop is free for users with advanced feature needs. Import and export GIS data, and go back in time with historical imagery. Available on PC, Mac, or Linux.What elevation system does Google Earth use? ›
The heights on google earth refer to EGM96 and are, therefore, Geoidal heights. The lat/long are referred to the WGS 84 ellipsoid.What is the source of elevation in Google Earth? ›
Google Earth uses digital elevation model (DEM) data collected by NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) enabling 3D view of the whole earth.What datum is Google Earth elevation? ›
The vertical component (altitude) is measured from the WGS84 EGM96 Geoid vertical datum. A map projection is a way to represent the curved surface of the Earth on the flat surface of a map. A good globe can provide the most accurate representation of the earth.
A cross section is a vertical plan cut through the building or land and shows the vertical relationship between the different levels of a building or land. It can also show the elevation beyond the section line.How do you draw an elevation section? ›
An Elevation is drawn from a vertical plane looking straight on to a building facade or interior surface. This is as if you directly in front of a building and looked straight at it. Elevations are a common design drawing and technical architectural or engineering convention for graphic representation of architecture.What type of elevation does Google Earth use? ›
Google Earth uses digital elevation model (DEM) data collected by NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) enabling 3D view of the whole earth.What elevation datum does Google Earth use? ›
The vertical component (altitude) is measured from the WGS84 EGM96 Geoid vertical datum.What is more accurate than Google Earth? ›
1. Zoom Earth. Zoom Earth is one of the best alternatives to Google Earth solely because it does not use much of Google's services for data mapping and yet offers great imagery of our Earth. Similar to Google Earth, Zoom Earth is web-based and it shows real-time information of weather, storms, wildfires, and more.