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Comparison of Relief Shading Techniques Applied to Landforms

Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(4), 253;
Received: 6 March 2020 / Revised: 27 March 2020 / Accepted: 16 April 2020 / Published: 18 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geovisualization and Map Design)
As relief influences disposition of all the other objects displayed on maps, terrain representation plays one of the key roles in the map creation process. Originally a manual technique, relief shading creates the three-dimensional effect and allows the user to read the terrain in an intuitive way. With the advent of digital elevation models (DEMs) analytical relief shading came into a wider use, since it is faster, requires less effort, and delivers reproducible results. In contrast to manual relief shading, however, it often lacks clarity when representing heterogeneous landscapes with diverse landforms. The aim of this work is to evaluate analytical hillshading methods against a set of landforms within an online survey. The responses revealed that the clear sky model performs best applied to most of the landforms included in the survey, in particular all the mountain and valley types. Cluster shading proved to work well for the mountainous and hilly areas but less so in the depiction of valleys. Texture shading and the multidirectional, oblique-weighted (MDOW) method deliver too much detail for most of the landforms presented. Glaciers were depicted in the best way using the aspect tool. For alluvial fans, the standard relief shading with custom lighting direction proved to work best compared to the other methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: manual relief shading; analytical relief shading; landforms; user survey manual relief shading; analytical relief shading; landforms; user survey
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MDPI and ACS Style

Farmakis-Serebryakova, M.; Hurni, L. Comparison of Relief Shading Techniques Applied to Landforms. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9, 253.

AMA Style

Farmakis-Serebryakova M, Hurni L. Comparison of Relief Shading Techniques Applied to Landforms. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2020; 9(4):253.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Farmakis-Serebryakova, Marianna, and Lorenz Hurni. 2020. "Comparison of Relief Shading Techniques Applied to Landforms" ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 9, no. 4: 253.

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