How to Find Elevation on Google Maps

Calculate gradients, measure building height, and more with Google Earth Pro

What to Know

  • Click Layers and choose Terrain from the pop-up menu. Enable the Terrain toggle and zoom in to see contour lines and elevation.
  • Install Google Earth Pro and use the Google Earth Help page to measure things like gradients, circumferences, and building height.
  • You can also calculate gradients using the formula: Vertical difference in elevation/horizontal distance.

This article explains how to find elevation on Google Maps. Instructions apply to Google Maps for Android, iOS, and web browsers.

How Do I Find the Elevation of an Address?

If you're going hiking or sightseeing, it's always a good idea to get a sense of the altitude, especially if you're going into mountainous terrain. It's also helpful to know the gradient of your route. Fortunately, you can find out all of this information on Google Maps.

Here's how to find elevation on Google Maps in a web browser:

Google Maps doesn't show the elevation for all locations. This information is mainly available for mountainous terrain.

  1. Enter a location in the search bar. For example, you can search for a specific address or a general area.

    Location entered in Google Maps
  2. Hover your mouse over the Layers icon in the lower-left corner of the map.

    Layers in Google Maps on the web
  3. Select the Terrain icon.

    Terrain in the Layers menu on Google Maps
  4. In the Terrain pop-up at the bottom of the map, select the toggle switch to turn on the elevation view. The switch should be blue.

    Terrain toggle on Google Maps
  5. Zoom in using the Plus (+) in the lower-right corner to see contour lines and elevation. The elevation in feet (ft) should appear faintly along the contours.

    If you zoom in too far, the contour lines will disappear. Zoom out until they reappear.

    Zoom buttons in Google Maps

How Do I See Elevation on Google Maps on iPhone?

Follow these steps to view elevation in the Google Maps app for iPhone and Android:

  1. Enter an address or general location in the search bar.

  2. Tap Layers in the upper-right corner of the map.

  3. Choose Terrain in the pop-up menu, then tap the X to close the menu.

  4. Zoom in to see the elevation in feet (ft) appear faintly along the contour lines.

    The numbers are very small, and if you zoom in too much, they disappear. Use a magnifying glass app if you can't read the elevation.

    Layers icon, Terrain, and Elevation contours highlighted in the Google Maps app

Get More Accurate Elevation Measurements With Google Earth Pro

Not every contour line has an elevation listed, so Google Maps only provides you a rough estimate of elevation. For more accurate measurements, you'll need to download Google Earth Pro. This program shows a lot more details than Google Maps, but it comes with a steep learning curve.

Can You Measure Building Height on Google Maps?

Google Maps doesn't have a feature for finding building height, but you can download Google Maps Pro for free to measure buildings, trees, and other objects. The Google Earth Help page has detailed instructions for measuring buildings' height, width, and area. There are also tools for measuring things like gradients and circumferences.

How Do You Get a Gradient on Google Maps?

You can find the gradient of a path using information from Google Maps, but it requires a little math on your part. To calculate the vertical gradient of point A to point B, subtract the elevation of B from the elevation of A, then divide the difference over the horizontal distance between the two points. Here is the formula:

  • Gradient = vertical difference in elevation / horizontal distance

For example, if you're going from an elevation of 100 ft above sea level to 10,100 ft over the course of 5 miles (5,280 ft), the gradient would be 2,000 ft per mile.

  • Can you find the sun's elevation angle on Google Maps?

    While this is not an option in Google Maps, you can find the position and strength of the sun using Google Earth. First, ensure 3d Buildings is selected as a layer and navigate to the location. Then, go to View > Sun and use the slider to change the time of day.

  • Can you save an elevation on Google Maps?

    Go to My Maps, create a custom route, change the title and add a description. Then, go to Base Map > Terrain. Google saves map with elevation, automatically and you can access it in Google Maps by going to Menu > Your Places > Maps.

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