ArcGIS Pro

Kandy-Kolored Multidirectional Streamlined Hillshade

There are loads of hillshade algorithms out there, but the two off-the-shelf options that do the real heavy-lifting for we GIS/Map nerds are “traditional” and “multidirectional.”

Here is a teaser animation to give you a sense of the sort of the topographic thrill-ride you are about to embark upon:

I’ll deconstruct what they are, in my small chilly shed with poor video quality (don’t mind though; I’m best viewed with a strong blur)…

Part 1

But what happens when you dig into the individual light sources and apply a range of hues? Some sort of ecstatic multichromatic adventure, that’s what.

Part 2

Please, join me for part two. And share in my embarrassment at discovering well-too-late that a Snap filter was active for the video bits. Learn from my mistakes. If a colleague recommends you install Snap filters for your web meetings so you can look like a talking potato and stuff, just don’t do it. Do NOT let my artificially-piercing irises and baby-smooth skin distract you from the hard science of stacking multiple hues for additional topographic communication.

Here is a more detailed walk-through on the multi-colored bit, if you are curious. It’s a lot of fun. And useful. I was told once, by a cartographer who made maps for special forces teams, that including a color channel to communicate aspect is really appreciated by people who rely on maps to navigate rough terrain.

Here are a couple of examples…

Happy multidirectional multi-colored hillshading! John

About the author

I have far too much fun looking for ways to understand and present data visually, hopefully driving product strategy and engaging users. I work in the ArcGIS Living Atlas team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways and then sharing the process. I also design user experiences for maps and apps. When I'm not doing those things, I'm chasing around toddlers and wrangling chickens, and generally getting into other ad-hoc adventures. Life is good. You might also like these Styles for ArcGIS Pro: esriurl.com/nelsonstyles

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