Don’t you wish that you could easily generate elevation profiles using mapping web sites like Google or Bing? As demonstrated so nicely by eatsleepridegreatdivide.com, the elevation information is available through the Google Maps API, they just don’t have a nice user interface to it. The only problem with eatsleepridegreatdivide.com is that it limits you to picking points that are on the GDMBR route.
Fortunately, a web site does exist that allows you to generate profiles for any route (even where there are no roads). It’s called the geocontext.org profiler. It takes a bit of fiddling to get it to do what you want, but it’s quite an excellent tool. Here’s an example, day one of the Steamboat-Gore Pass-Rabbit Ears Pass-CDT loop that I blogged about a few days ago:
As you move your mouse over the elevation profile, a little bicycle moves along the map route, very cute. Also, if you click and drag on the elevation profile, it zooms into the profile and calculates the grade. Very useful! Finally, there’s a little arrow in the top right corner of the profile (next to the “Denivelation” number) that pops out a little box telling you the total number of feet climbed and descended. Click on the image above to go to the site and try it out!