A collection of various GIS related links, information and other GIS blogs.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Choosing Color Ramps and Displaying for Hillshade Rasters

Dec 26 2007 post on the ESRI Mapping Center. Using ArcMap to symbolizea hillshade raster layer (the output of the Spatial or 3D Analyst's Hillshade tool) is pretty straightforward, and the default symbology (black to white ramp) doesn't look too bad. In fact, if your hillshade layer is the only layer in your map, and if you don't mind not seeing some of the details that have been visually absorbed into the darker tones, the default symbology is okay. To be fair, the default symbology for hillshades is useful for much more than just terrain depictions, so it's good to know what might be helpful when depicting terrain with a hillshade. The image to the left is an example of a hillshade using the default color ramp.

In most cases a hillshade will not be the only layer in your map, so you need symbolize it so it works as the backdrop to other more critical information in the foreground of your map. Generally, as you add more information to your map, the lighter the darkest color of the hillshade should be. Here are some examples:


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