How to get an elevation profile of a driving route?

What is an elevation profile?

An elevation profile is a graph that shows how the elevation of a terrain changes along a given route. It is a useful tool for hikers, bikers, and drivers who want to know the difficulty level of a route, especially if it involves hills or mountains. An elevation profile can help you plan your journey by showing you the steepness of the hills, the length of the climbs, and the altitude changes.

Tools needed to get an elevation profile

To get an elevation profile of a driving route, you need a mapping website that offers this feature. There are many mapping websites available, such as Google Maps, MapQuest, and OpenStreetMap. You should also have a device with internet access, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Step 1: Choose a mapping website

Choose a mapping website that offers an elevation profile feature. Google Maps is a popular choice, as it is easy to use and has accurate data. OpenStreetMap is another option, as it is open source and community-driven. MapQuest is also a good choice, as it offers detailed driving directions and traffic updates.

Step 2: Enter your starting and ending points

Enter your starting and ending points in the mapping website’s search bar. Make sure to specify that you want driving directions, as the elevation profile feature is only available for driving routes. You can also add waypoints if you want to modify your route.

Step 3: Generate your route

Click on the "Directions" button to generate your driving route. The mapping website will calculate the best route based on distance, time, and traffic conditions. You can also choose to avoid tolls or highways, depending on your preferences.

Step 4: View the elevation profile

Click on the "Elevation Profile" button to view the graph of the elevation changes along your route. The graph will show the elevation in feet or meters on the y-axis and the distance in miles or kilometers on the x-axis. You can also see the highest and lowest points of your route.

Understanding the elevation profile graph

The elevation profile graph is usually color-coded, with green representing low elevation and red representing high elevation. The steeper the slope, the darker the color. You can also see the elevation gain and loss, which is the difference between the highest and lowest points of your route. The elevation profile graph can help you estimate the difficulty of your route and plan accordingly.

Analyzing the elevation data

You can analyze the elevation data by looking at the steepness of the hills, the length of the climbs, and the altitude changes. If you see a long, steep climb, you may want to modify your route or take a break halfway. If you see a sharp descent, you may want to slow down and brake carefully. The elevation data can also help you estimate your fuel consumption and plan for rest stops.

How to modify your driving route to avoid hills

If you want to avoid hills, you can use the mapping website’s "Avoid hills" feature. This will generate a flatter route, but it may take longer and have more traffic. You can also add waypoints to your route to avoid steep hills or take a scenic detour. However, keep in mind that modifying your route may affect your fuel consumption and driving time.

How to plan for a challenging driving route

If you are planning to drive on a challenging route, such as a mountain road or a coastal highway, make sure to check the weather conditions and road closures beforehand. You should also pack extra food, water, and fuel in case of emergency. It is also a good idea to keep a map and a compass in your car, as GPS signals may not work in remote areas.

Conclusion: Benefits of an elevation profile

An elevation profile can help you plan your driving route by showing you the difficulty level, the elevation changes, and the terrain features. It can also help you estimate your fuel consumption, driving time, and rest stops. By using a mapping website with an elevation profile feature, you can make your driving journey safer, smoother, and more enjoyable.

References and additional resources

  • Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps
  • MapQuest: https://www.mapquest.com/
  • OpenStreetMap: https://www.openstreetmap.org/
  • How to read an elevation profile:
  • Tips for driving on mountain roads: https://www.aaa.com/autorepair/articles/driving-on-mountain-roads-32692
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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