ArcGIS Living Atlas

Introducing Dark Hillshade

A few years ago, we introduced Multi-Directional Hillshade as a server raster function on World Elevation Services and later as a tiled basemap layer to use as a backdrop for topographical, soil, mining, and other outdoor recreational maps. These layers are part of ever growing authoritative content available in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

To complement the Multi-Directional Hillshade, we are excited to announce the beta release of Dark Multi-Directional Hillshade as a server raster function on the Terrain layer. This dark gray hillshade supports bright colors and labels for your theme, enabling you to create compelling visualizations. It will draw attention to your thematic content and provide context when used as a backdrop.

Let’s take a look at a few examples how you can use dark hillshade to create stunning visualizations.

USGS earthquake faults over Utah (USA)

Major earthquakes depicted over central Asia

Hiking trails over Switzerland National Park (Europe)

Wild fire activity over western USA

The Dark Multi-Directional Hillshade is available on ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World and can be easily added to your desktop or web maps/apps. It requires an ArcGIS Organizational subscription account to access. You can use this webmap, which contains Dark Multi-Directional Hillshade with Ocean mask (created using Esri vector tile set), to get a quick start. This global multi-scale live service will render results dynamically on-the-fly for every pan/zoom request.

The new dark hillshade provides perfect relief backdrop for thematic overlays and will take your terrain mapping to new heights. Can’t wait to see your work using this new hillshade.

Happy Terrain Mapping!

Rajinder Nagi

About the author

Rajinder has more than 15 years of experience in GIS and Remote Sensing. He came to Esri about 11 years ago and has worked with various teams in different capacities. In his current role, he leads the community elevation program at Esri and has wide experience in cartographic visualization, image processing, databases and geo-processing. By virtue of his strong research interest in terrain visualization, Rajinder has developed a multi-directional hillshade ( algorithm to improve terrain visualization in Esri basemaps, which is also available as part of world elevation layers. He has also developed a fusion technique ( which maintains details and colors when integrating colored rasters with hillshades. Rajinder holds a Master of Science degree in Geoinformatics from the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), The Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban & Regional Planning from GND University, Amritsar, India.


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