Look, I get it- ESRI wants to make money off of its users, and I have no problem with the concept of having to pay for a viewshed analysis or drainage basin calculation. That being said, why can't I just perform a simple query for the elevation of a given lat/lon location??
I can geocode a single street address without any hassle or preconditions but if I want to query a single elevation point, I'm required to have a Developers or ArcGIS Organizational account. If I had that, that query wouldn't cost any credits so why make it this difficult for folks to use in the first place? At least Google provides this option to its users. If ESRI still wants to create an incentive for users to pay for this information, provide a degraded resolution (30m resolution, SRTM source, etc) value for the free option. For my application, this would more than suffice.
I'd like the users of my application to be able to use it world wide but can only offer US coverage (using the USGS elevation query service) because of this deficiency.