I have a TIN file that was built off of contour polyline shapefile (I think). I have a point shapefile with a few points.

How can I extract elevation of the TIN file where the points occur? I am using ArcMap with python automation. Any free software would be welcome as well. Perhaps a transforming of the TIN to another file type is needed.

2 Answers 2


Using ArcGIS 10 and 3D Analyst:

Step 1: *Interpolate Shape tool* (ArcToolbox-->3D Analyst Tools --> Functional Surface --> Interpolate Shape) This will create a 3D Feature class/Shapfile from the 2D shapefile and the TIN input surface.

Step 2: *Add XY Coordinates tool* This tool will also add a Z coordinate if the feature class is 3D. (ArcToolbox --> Data Management Tools --> Features --> Add XY Coordinates)

If this is something you do often you can automate this with Model Builder.


I don't know how to do it in ArcMap, but options are FME (drape transformer), but it's commercial. Another one is GRASS (or qgis with grass extension).

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