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Best Methods for Oblique Terrain Views

November 12 2009 | 0 comments

I have been asked to generate some 3D or shaded relief map views of local terrain (with transparent polygon overlays). I would like to give the maps an oblique perspective to better visualize landforms. It seems there are many ways too accomplish this with the various ESRI software products. Would you be able to recommend the best path to achieve this using ESRI software? Many thanks in advance...

Mapping Center Answer:

Shaded relief or hillshade can be produced using the Hillshade tool in the Spatial Analyst toolbox, Surface toolset.  Your elevation dataset (DEM) will be the input for this tool which will create a hillshade raster.

To give your map an oblique perspective, add your hillshade raster to ArcScene (part of the 3D analyst extension) and open the hillshade layer's Properties. Under the Base Heights tab, select "obtain heights for layer from surface" and browse to your elevation dataset. Click Raster Resolution to change the cell size of the base surface to the cell size of the original surface. By default, ArcScene will draw the raster at a coarser resolution to make it draw faster.

To create a realistic impression of relief, mapmakers often exaggerate the verticle scale of most oblique perspective maps. Regions of little relief are vertically exaggerated more than regions of substantial relief.  You can adjust the vertical exaggeration under the View menu > Scene Properties > General tab.


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