Shaded Relief



Sample Elevation Models

So that mapmakers and researchers have "common ground" for comparative experimentation, this website offers multi-resolution DEMs, and DEMs of archetypal landforms. Use these data for evaluating terrain visualizations and testing software.

North Atlantic Seafloor Map  

This map showcases the exotic bottom features of the North Atlantic Ocean, including  abyssal plains, banks, canyons, seamounts, trenches, and the scar-like Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Above the waves, the map offers select coastal cities for reference.

Blue Earth Bathymetry

An edited and smoothed version of GEBCO (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) designed for small-scale mapping of the ocean floor—without unsightly artifacts. It is available as a free GeoTIFF DEM.

Mount Everest 3D Map

A high-oblique view of Mount Everest from the west-northwest. The terrain derives from High Mountain Asia elevation data supplemented with glaciers extracted from a June, 2016, Landsat image. The map is available with and without labels.

Plan-oblique Relief Map of the Contiguous US

An updated 2007 map with brighter colors and more place name labels. The relief has a 3D appearance and cross-blended hypsometric tints depict elevations. Arid lowlands, such as Death Valley, are brown instead of green.

Physical Features of the Contiguous US  

A map with over 3,000 labels showcasing the mountains, rivers, and lakes of the 48 contiguous US states. Map colors reflect natural environments across the continent from the forested east to the snowcapped Rockies to the desert southwest.

100-meter Natural Earth of the US, Puerto Rico, & US Virgin Islands

A re-release of the Natural Earth relief/land cover data made for the US National Atlas. The georeferenced raster images match the National Atlas vector linework. Data coverage includes only the United States and affiliated areas.

Prince William Sound Wall Map  

A physical map focusing on the magnificent islands, fjords, glaciers, and mountains of Prince William Sound, Alaska. The map also depicts generalized land cover textures and bathymetric shading.

Big Island of Hawai‘i Landsat Mosaic

A georeferenced mosaic comprised of 10 Landsat scenes. The natural-color image, pan-sharpened to 15-meter resolution, is seamless and cloud-free.

Elemental Yosemite

An Ansel Adams-inspired map of Yosemite Valley rendered in black and white and featuring highly detailed terrain that derives from 1-meter resolution LiDAR. The terrain is depicted in 3D as plan oblique relief.

Equal Earth - Physical Wall Map  ✔︎

Download a high-resolution world map featuring the Equal Earth projection. The focus is on the natural world—terrain, rivers and lakes, vegetation, land cover, and the ocean floor—free of obscuring country boundaries. The map is free of charge.

Equal Earth - Political Wall Map

Download a high-resolution world map featuring the Equal Earth projection. Three versions are available centered on different world regions, including Africa/Europe (0), the Americas (90W), and Australia/East Asia (150E). The map is free of charge.

Equal Earth Map Projection  ✔︎

The Equal Earth map projection is a new equal-area pseudocylindrical projection for world maps. Created as a visually pleasing alternative to the Gall-Peters projection, Equal Earth shows continents and countries at their true sizes relative to each other.

Adirondack Park Wall Maps

Two large, detailed maps of the New York State park. One map depicts the physical environment—mountains, lakes, and rivers—and the other depicts state lands and cultural features. The high-resolution maps are ready to print on a large-format plotter.

Manual Shaded Relief of the Contiguous US

The relief art also includes southern Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. It is available as a grayscale GeoTIFF (12,578 x 9,494 pixels), registers with Natural Earth 1:10 million vector data, and is in the Web Mercator projection.

World Political Map

A map of world countries offered in three projections: Patterson, Natural Earth, and Natural Earth 2. Download a PDF or Adobe Illustrator file with MAPublisher georeferencing. Note: map is out-of-date. Use the Equal Earth map instead.

Natural Earth II Projection

The Natural Earth II is a new pseudocylindrical projection with a highly rounded shape. At high latitudes the meridians bend steeply inward to short pole lines. The Natural Earth II has aerial distortion values similar to those of the popular Robinson projection.

Manual Shaded Relief of the World

This page describes a generalized shaded relief that I drew, intended for making small-scale maps of the world and continents. The relief image registers with Natural Earth vector data. It is available as a grayscale GeoTIFF (10,800 x 5,400 pixels).

Patterson Cylindrical Projection

The Patterson is designed for general-purpose mapmaking. It has a relatively compact 0.57 height-to-width aspect ratio that fits nicely in reports, web pages, or any project needing a world map with a rectangular format.

Mountain Cartography Workshop Maps  ✔︎

My experiments with the Texture Shading technique to create relief maps with rock textures. Presented at the ICA Mountain Cartogtaphy Workshop, Banff, Alberta. The maps include Glacier National Park, Montana, and Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Gallery of National Park Bird's-eye Views  ✔︎

Peruse dozens of oblique bird's-eye view maps of national parks in the United States. The site offers views produced by both traditional and digital techniques, and by commercial contractors and NPS staff.

Seafloor Map of Hawai‘i  ✔︎

Explore the ocean bottom of Hawai‘i, an exotic world that includes towering seamounts, precipitous cliffs, deep canyons, catastrophic landslides, an erupting volcano, and abyssal plains. The map is available in metric and English versions.

Natural Earth Projection

The Natural Earth projection is a psuedocylindrical projection designed for making world maps. With the source code available at this site, developers can implement the Natural Earth projection in their software.

Shaded Relief Archive  ✔

This website offers over 150 hand-drawn reliefs created by twentieth century artists. The reliefs are georeferenced, high-resolution, and availabe for free. Many of the smaller-scale reliefs register to Natural Earth drainage vectors.

NaturalEarthData.com

Here you will find matched raster and vector data for making small-scale maps at 1:10 million, 1:50 million, and 1:110 million scale. The vector data is fully attributed, including cultural and physical place names, river tapering, and much more.

World Relief Map with Cross-blended Hypsometric Tints

Raster map art featuring shaded relief combined with elevation colors matched to the natural environment —desert lowlands are brown, humid lowlands are green, and ice caps blue-gray. Soft blues fill the oceans becoming lighter in the shallows.

Natural Earth III – Data for Visualizing Earth from Space

Raster map data for creating illustrations and animations of Earth, including realistic land cover textures, 3D mountains, custom cloud maps, polar sea ice, and city lights at night. Includes desktop pictures of Earth.

Natural Earth II – World Environment Map Data in Natural Color  ✔︎

A raster map dataset that portrays the world environment in an idealized manner with little human influence. A successor dataset to the original Natural Earth, the smoothly blended colors and shaded relief make it an ideal base for general-purpose mapping.

Natural Earth I – World Land Cover Map Data

A raster base map of Earth made from public domain data featuring combined land cover and shaded relief. Peruse a gallery of dramatic landscapes from around the world, download a poster-sized wall map, or download the raw data.

Physical Map of the World

Available for free, this detailed map of the world map features three-dimensional topography, thousands of place name labels, and a new pseudocylindrical map projection. You can view interactively online or download it for printing as a large wall map. A German version is also available: Physische Karte der Erde.

✔︎ My favorites

Maps and Data