I would like to create a polyline from one specified point to a target point. In between, I'd like to the vertices to fall on the highest point of elevation of that Y coordinate.

Essentially, this will be the highest path for that area - or highest profile for this extent.

Has anyone had luck doing this in ArcGIS Desktop?

Haven't been able to find a tool for this yet.

  • if you have a dem/tin and a profile/path then FME can give you the highest points/path see knowledge.safe.com/articles/1372/… – Mapperz Feb 28 '17 at 20:30
  • Hi Mapperz, I am trying to create the profile/path from the DEM that goes through the highest points from point a to point b, so I don't think that method will work... – Kate Feb 28 '17 at 20:39
  • You could inverse the DEM and find the flow path... I'm taking that you want the path to be contiguous and not jump all over the DEM if there's a higher cell well away from the path on another ridge. For your inverse calculate (DEM maximum) - DEM to keep the numbers positive. Do you have a set of 'start' points you want to find the path from? – Michael Stimson Feb 28 '17 at 21:11
  • Hi Michael, I think inverting the DEM is a good idea but I am not sure how to do that. Can you elaborate a bit more please? Thank you! – Kate Feb 28 '17 at 21:12
  • Do you have spatial analyst? If so use Subtract resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.2/index.html#//… first value is statistical maximum (plus a small amount if you like to avoid negative values) of the DEM the second parameter is the DEM. If you don't have spatial analyst you can use GDAL_Calc gdal.org/gdal_calc.html to invert or QGIS raster calculator docs.qgis.org/2.2/en/docs/user_manual/working_with_raster/… as viable alternatives. – Michael Stimson Feb 28 '17 at 21:25

As commented by @GBG:

Inverting the surface model and generating a flow line will give you a steepest path from point a to point b assuming point a is in the flow path downhill from point b. It sounds like you want to traverse the highest ground from a to b. Have a look at the cost path tool in the Spatial Analyst toolbox. If I remember, there was a good tutorial on cost path surfaces via the ESRI Virtual Campus. Basically it will cost more to travel downhill and less to travel uphill.

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