Using DEM to calculate 3D profile

Discussion created by hwilliams92 on Dec 19, 2013
I've got a 1m DEM that I'm trying to extract a profile from.

I've tried using 3D Analyst, and it works pretty good at making a profile (using interpolate line tool). It almost seems right, but something seems off.

What I'm concerned with is how it's calculating the elevation at each point. In real life, some areas along my cross section change elevation suddenly. So let's say, one of my points is on the edge of a road, and the road suddenly drops into a ditch, could the interpolate line tool be classifying the edge of the road as having the same elevation as the bottom of the ditch, which in some cases is over a meter deep? In other words, if I'm trying to get an elevation at a certain point, is the interpolate line tool grabbing an elevation that is not representative of an exact point? I'm looking for exactness.

Also, I'm pretty novice at GIS, so I'm not really familiar with coding in GIS. I can code in R, and I don't know if you can cross worlds there, but if anyone has suggestions that don't involve coding, it would be much appreciated! Thanks!