I'm working with ArcMap 10.2. So, it's not a duplicate of "Displaying elevation profile and storing DEM elevation back to KML line using QGIS?". I have a linear shapefile that has only one element (a river). I have also a DEM. I would like to use my shapefile to make an elevation profile. As it is very long and detailed I really don't want to re-draw it. Suggestions?

  • Possible duplicate of How to display an elevation profile and store the DEM elevation back to the KML line?
    – Senshi
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 11:32
  • 1
    @Senshi - Not a duplicate. The software used here is ArcGIS, not QGIS
    – GISGe
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 11:34
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    @GisGe - Sorry, that was truly my mistake. However, even the ArcGIS question exists and has already been fancily answered with pics, links and everything: gis.stackexchange.com/questions/25109/…
    – Senshi
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 12:02
  • @Senshi - you're right, it's a classic question! My tiny little added value: how to turn your 2D line into a 3D line, necessary step if you don't have a 3D line as input, and don't want to draw the line manually (not explained in the mentioned question).
    – GISGe
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


If you have the 3D Analyst extension, this is pretty easy:

  1. Make a 3D line out of your line shapefile with Interpolate Shape (use the DEM as Input Surface)
  2. Add your 3D shapefile to ArcMap
  3. Add the 3D Analyst toolbar (Customize > Toolbars > 3D Analyst)
  4. Select your line feature with the Select Features button
  5. Click the Profile Graph button in the 3D Analyst toolbar. You're done!

More info on creating 3D profiles on the page Fundamentals of creating profile graphs.

3D Analyst toolbar

  • Great! Then you can mark this question as solved by checking the answer. Thanks
    – GISGe
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 15:07

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