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How To Show Elevation in Google Earth

Posted by Anna Middleton on July 11, 2019
how to see elevation in google earth

Google Earth has been a neat Earth browsing app for many years now. The newer versions, however, come with many additional tools, displaying increasingly detailed depictions of our planet and allowing the users to utilize the app in a number of new ways.

The Elevation Profile tool allows you to create a path, and display its elevation profile. Additionally, Google Earth displays location elevation wherever your cursor is on the map. You can find the current cursor elevation in the lower right corner.

Basic Location Search

If you simply want to see how tall a particular mountain is or do some fact checking during a trivial conversation with friends over a beer, finding out the altitude of a location is as easy as finding it on Google Maps. Simply open Google Earth, navigate to the location in question (either by manually zooming in or by typing the appropriate name in the search box).

In case you’ve found your target location, the elevation of that specific point will be displayed at the bottom right of your Google Earth window. Note that “eye alt” shows the altitude of the place, not the location’s height. The “elev” number is the one that shows you the elevation of the point you’ve browsed for.

Advanced Elevation Search

Of course, the basic location search can essentially tell you the height of the location you choose. However, you may want to see the profile of a particular path of a geographical location. Google Earth is now equipped with all the necessary tools to do this. This is very simple and straightforward. Here’s how to do it:

Create a Path

Click Add and then Path and this will open the New Path dialog. You can access any one of your previously saved paths in Google Earth.

Enter a Name

You can give your path a name by typing it into the Name field. You’ll want to name your path because you might want to revisit it at some point. Do not click OK until the path is drawn.

Customize the Path

Go to the Style, Color tab and choose the color and width. Choosing the color and the width of your future path may sound trivial, but some terrains make spotting the path very difficult. Of course, you can select the date and time of your path, add a time stamp or the time span of the path, add a description, and change the units in the Measurements section.

Draw the Path

Once you’ve set everything, the cursor will turn into a square, as long as the New Path dialog box remains open. This means that you should not close it until you’re done drawing the path. Drag or click on spots to add points. Once you are certain that your path is done, click OK.

Open the Elevation Profile

In order to get an in-detail elevation view of your path, find your path’s name in the sidebar on the left, right-click it and select Show Elevation Profile. This profile allows you to see your path in a two-dimensional view, displaying your path’s length and elevation. The Y-axis shows the actual elevation, while the X-axis shows its distance.

Open the Elevation Profile

The best part about the Elevation Profile is that you can click/drag your cursor across the entire graph and see the details for every single point of your path. In fact, as you move your cursor over the graph, the three numbers specific to the location of the cursor on your path will change.

The Three Numbers

The number directly above the red arrow shows you the elevation of the selected location. The left arrow marks the distance traveled at that particular point in your path. The right arrow, on the other hand, shows the path’s grade at the location in question (where your cursor is).

Analyze a Section

Seeing a detailed view of a point in the path you’ve drawn is pretty cool, but you may sometimes need to analyze a section of the path. This is done by selecting the desired section on the elevation graph (left-click and drag the cursor). This will create a darker area on the Elevation Profile, meaning you’ve successfully isolated the desired path section.

Analyze a Section

In this view, the ribbon displays updated metrics and the red arrow on the map moves to the selected highest point. This view offers specific data displays that can be used according to your needs.

Google Earth Rocks

Sure, you can find a location using Google Maps; you can probably even type “[location name] elevation” in Google and get a simple answer. This tremendous app has a wide range of awesome tools that can help you with a variety of things, elevation being merely one of them.

Did you know about the Elevation Profile view? If not, how did you check elevation in Google Earth? Feel free to discuss in the comment section below.

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