I have derived elevation profile of a river channel using USGS SRTM 1 ArcSec. I am interested to know whether Elevation Profile and Longitudinal Profile are synonymous?

  • 1
    Same thing in my opinion
    – FelixIP
    Sep 26, 2016 at 6:03
  • I have skimmed through Google but didn't find any reference, could you please provide any reference for more clarification?
    – Rex
    Sep 26, 2016 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


An elevation profile or a topographic profile is a two-dimensional cross sectional view of the landscape. It provides a side view of the relief of the terrain along a line drawn between two locations on a topographic map.

Whereas, the longitudinal profile is a two-dimensional view along the river, and it characterizes average stream slopes and depths of riffles, pools, runs, glides, rapids and step/pools. Longitudinal profiles are measured in the downstream direction.

In your case you said you have derived elevation profile of a river channel, which I think it is longitudinal profile.

  • So I would have to indicate riffles, runs, glides etc on the Elevation Profile plotted from Digital Elevation Model to call is as 'Longitudinal Profile'?
    – Rex
    Sep 26, 2016 at 6:38
  • I just had a walk 5 km long, started at point a, took a road B and use road c to return to point a. If I want to represent elevation change along the route I think both items will do
    – FelixIP
    Sep 26, 2016 at 6:40

Both are same. Longitudinal elevation is Elevation along the line or stream line.

But Cross section elevation is elevations across the line.

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