Profile Tool is a plugin for QGIS which makes it possible to generate (elevation) profiles for line features. The plugin is available through the default QGIS plugin repository. While testing the plugin, I found some aspects of using the tool might require additional instructions.
After installing and enabling the plugin, you will find the “Terrain profile” button in the plugin toolbar:
The basic use case is as follows:
- Load the elevation raster and select this raster layer in the layer list.
- Press the “Terrain profile” button. This opens the plugin panel which consists of a graph area on the left and a raster layer list on the right. The raster layer you had selected will be added to the raster layer list.
- If you have “Selection: Temporary polyline” enabled, you can now draw a line in the map area. Double-click left to end drawing the line. (If you are paying close attention, you might have noticed the instructions in the status bar.)
- After you have finished drawing the line, the graph area will update and display the profile.
If you want to add another raster layer to the plugin, you need to first select the raster layer in the QGIS layer list and then press the “Add Layer” button in the Profile Tool panel.
To generate the profile for an existing line feature, you need to change the selection mode from “Temporary polyline” to “Selected polyline”. Then you need to select the vector layer which contains the line feature you want to use in the QGIS layer list. Finally, you can click on the line feature in the map area to select it. (Note that this selection is independent of any selections you might have going on using the default QGIS feature selection tools.)
If you change from the Profile Tool to any other tool such as “Pan Map” or “Identify”, you have to click the “Terrain profile” button again to re-enable drawing/selection a line for the Profile Tool.
Due to a bug, it is currently not possible to export the profile graph. An alternative is to open the “Table” tab of the Profile Tool panel which provides access to the profile data and copy the data into your preferred graphing application such as Calc or Excel.
If you want to see the Profile Tool in action, I recommend watching the introduction video by Lene Fischer (University of Copenhagen).