elevation profile detail

ben's Avatar


22 Nov, 2016 03:46 PM

the elevation profile feature is great and i imagine many of us use it often. typically i create a single track for a multi day route. this means that the profile is an overview of the entire route, which is good to have but not particularly detailed.

i'm wondering if it might be possible to see more detail in the profile of a single line.

one way would be to split up that single track into its constituent days - so you have a profile for day 1, day 2, etc. this seems unnecessary and more of a work around then a feature.

another way might be to have the option of choosing the scale for the x axis. as it stands, the elevation profile fits into a window of predetermined size regardless of the length of the track, so if a line is 10 miles long it's fairly detailed, but much less so if it's 50 miles long. what if we could choose the scale? this would mean that the profile might be longer than the current caltopo elevation profile window size, but i imagine there's a way around that. or, it could simply be downloaded as a jpg and not displayed in the pop up 'terrain' window at all.
hope this makes sense :)

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by matt on 22 Nov, 2016 09:11 PM

    matt's Avatar

    I don't see supporting this in the near term, because changing the scale and scrolling the x axis would require requesting more point elevations at a time to prevent distinct blocks/steps in the profile. In the terrain dialog this has performance implications for a sufficiently long line, and it's simply not possible on the small, interactive profile dialog unless I switch away from using the Google Maps elevation API, which I've been keeping for that dialog to support non-US locations.

    Pro-level subscribers can export the elevation data, resampled down to every 25 feet or once per waypoint, as a CSV file. At that point, you can create whatever kind of graph you want, but the feature is intentionally hidden behind both a subscription and an intentional request to resample the data, since computing point elevations every 25 feet on a 100 mile long line is resource intensive.

  2. matt closed this discussion on 22 Nov, 2016 09:11 PM.

  3. Ben Sterling re-opened this discussion on 06 Dec, 2016 09:02 PM

  4. 2 Posted by Ben Sterling on 06 Dec, 2016 09:02 PM

    Ben Sterling's Avatar

    hey matt

    got it. i'm not particularly techy. what would be involved in exorting csv
    data and making "whatever kind of graph you want"?

    for what it's worth, i'd gladly pay for pro (i'm basic) if it meant adding
    this feature, or something similar. for instance, a more detailed elevation
    profile could be exported from caltopo rather than have it show up
    specifically in the window that google's API uses.

    and sorry for the long lag in responding, i just moved :)

  5. Support Staff 3 Posted by matt on 08 Dec, 2016 10:28 PM

    matt's Avatar

    CSV stand for comma separated value and is basically a simple format for moving tabular data around. You can import it into excel or another spreadsheet program and then make plots from there. At this point it's my preferred option for people who want to nerd out over the numbers, rather than trying to add more analysis tools myself. If you don't know how create a plot from the raw data then it won't really help you, but for people planning events like running races, it's important to get as precise as they can.

    Not sure from your original message if you're aware of this, but you can use right click -> modify -> split here and join with to break a line into days and then back together, without having to redraw / retrace anything.

  6. matt closed this discussion on 08 Dec, 2016 10:28 PM.

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