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I'm planning to do a bike trip, and it would be useful for me to know how much of actual climbing I would have to do. I wasn't quite sure to post it on travel.se or bicycles.SE, as it's also partly about trip planning.

I was wondering if it is possible to find the coordinates of roads, rather than the surface they're on. I thought Google maps and or Earth might be able to do this, as they collect streetview data by car. But they seem to only use satellite data. The difference is nicely illustrated at the bridge of Millau. Here you can clearly see that the route calculations uses the bridge, yet maps this on the ground surface.

Does anybody know any way to get the actual GPS coordinates of planned routes over roads?

enter image description here Source: Google Earth

  • How is it travel related? – JonathanReez Jul 16 '15 at 14:26
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    @JonathanReez one travels on roads. – phoog Jul 16 '15 at 14:27
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    I'm planning to do a bike trip, and it would be useful for me to know how much of actual climbing I would have te do. I wasn't quite sure to post it here or in the biking.SE or here, as it's also partly about trip planning. – ROIMaison Jul 16 '15 at 14:29
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    What you want are the vertical coordinates: elevations aka 3D GIS data. – mkennedy Jul 16 '15 at 17:26
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    I'm confused. How would actual GPS coordinates help one plan a trip? Surely road elevations, gradients, directions and distances would be more useful. – andy256 Jul 19 '15 at 22:53
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In the UK, Cyclestreet does this. I just tried a route over the Forth Road Bridge, starting and ending on the shore. On the elevation profile you can clearly see that it goes up to 40m (the height of the bridge) and is not projected onto the surface, which would be sea level:

Elevation profile

Cyclestreet is based in map data from OpenStreetMap, but it is not clear if they use also data from other sources. Presumably OSM has elevation data, but I could not find a way to see this in OSM directly.

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  • OSM doesn't collect elevation data, but people can upload GPS traces to map roads and paths, and these do contain elevations. – Davidmh Jul 22 '15 at 19:09
  • @Davidmh Thanks, that's very useful to know! – Stephan Matthiesen Jul 23 '15 at 9:10

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