ArcMap's Profile Graph in 3D analyst works great for drawing a line on the map and seeing the profile. I am doing this part easily; single segments, multiple segments it works fine.

However, it is not working for me with existing features. I follow directions from here (https://dartgeoblog.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/creating-topographic-profiles-in-arcgis/) for a vector line layer. I have loaded gdb feature class and shapefile. I select one (or many) features, then click 'Profile Graph'. The result with existing features is a Profile Graph window showing a level line, elevation = 1, that is an appropriate length. The DEM is visible underneath the entire segment, (and is not flat). I have tried providing gdb feature classes before and after 'Add surface information' to make it 3D enabled. I have rebooted ArcMap. What am I doing wrong here?

  • Are you doing step 3 of that tutorial, the Features to 3D part? Your lines must be 3D, not just 2D. I don't see anywhere that tutorial says "Add surface information" - what step/tool is that in?
    – Chris W
    Jul 3, 2015 at 5:32

2 Answers 2


The Profile Graph tool in ArcGIS does not work if the input DEM and the selected line feature are not in the same coordinate system. To test this statement, I used a DEM in UTM coordinates and a line feature class in US State Plane. My result was a graph with a constant elevation of one. I reprojected the line feature class to the UTM coordinate system and the tool produced the expected profile graph.

Please make sure that your line feature class and your DEM are in the same coordinate system and try again. Also, make sure that the X, Y, and Z of your DEM are all in the same units.

  • Previously, all data were in a state plane feet pcs.
    – jsfoster
    Jul 2, 2015 at 23:03

I had the same problem and I tried the Interpolate Shape tool in the 3D Analyst toolbox and it works. See link for additional information: http://www.exprodat.com/blogs/making-elevation-profiles-in-3d-analyst-4/

  • Welcome to GIS SE, please visit the tour and edit your answer
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    Aug 14, 2017 at 18:06

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