With the latest release of ArcGIS Online several new templates have been added to the map viewer template gallery. One of those is the Elevation Profile template which we’ll take a closer look at in this post.
Start with any map, the service providing elevation data is integrated independently into the application template. Below we started with the National Geographic basemap, zoomed to an area south of Rome, and saved and shared the map publicly. Now we can open the map in the Elevation Profile template by choosing Share.
Then choosing Make a Web Application:
Currently you will find the Elevation Profile template on the second gallery page as shown below:
Like other templates it can be downloaded to tweak and publish from your own server, or can be configured and published as a hosted application via your ArcGIS Online account.
Here’s our map viewed in the Elevation Profile template. Follow the instructions to open the measure tool, then draw a line across your map. The elevation profile will be returned and displayed in the panel below the map:
Taking a closer look at the profile we can see elevation (in feet) along the Y axis, and distance (in miles) along the X axis. As you cursor across the profile you’ll see a red X displayed on the line drawn on your map, indicating the corresponding location on the map for the location in your profile.
The profile also shows the elevation in feet (in black text) and the difference in elevation between the current location and your starting point, in red or green, depending on whether it is above or below the starting elevation. In the close-up below of the current cursor location, the elevation is 958 feet and the difference between the current position and the elevation at the starting point is +567 feet.
You can use the Elevation Profile template with any publicly shared map of your own, or from others.
Ocean bathymetry is included in the global elevation, so you can also derive profiles across ocean areas. Below we’ve used the Oceans basemap and completed a profile in the Monterey Bay area of California, across the deep Monterey Canyon trench:
Behind the scenes
The elevation profile is obtained from a mosaiced DEM service of the entire globe, combining SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission), GTOPO30 (from USGS), and GEBCO (General Bathymetry Chart of the Oceans) sources. It has been resampled to the finest SRTM resolution of 92.5 meters (and will continue to be refined).
The profile capability leverages a custom Server Object Extension (SOE) to extract elevation values from the service. SOEs allow web applications to tap into additional GIS functionality, and can leverage full GIS capabilities via REST endpoints that can be combined, as demonstrated in this example, with easy-to-configure web maps and app templates, bringing advanced capabilities to easily authored maps.