May 302012

Hillshades are made by processing georeferenced digital elevation models. The process places a virtual light source above an elevation model and calculates which areas are lightened up and which fall in the shadow. Light characteristics, vertical/geographical source will be determinant for the hillshade.

Some years ago I prepared a hillshade model for Tanzania. It was fun and before I knew it I had prepared elevation models for seven more countries.

This article points to a file gallery where the files are available for download.

Hillshades area available for Botswana, Burundi, Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa, Comoros, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Leshoto and Namibia.

OpenStreetMap, SRTM based hillshade and both of them combined.

Used as a semi-transparent layer in a map the hillshade represent an important element of a visually pleasing cartography. To get the best results it is necessary to work with the different layers adjusting transparency. The above example shows how Goma (Congo) and the area around can be represented. The OpenStreetMap (left) is added on top of the hillshade (middle) giving us the map to the right.

The hillshades are available for download below:

[wpfilebase tag=list id=6 /]

The elevation model being the basis for the hill shades were made based on the Shuttle Ratar Topography Mission (SRTM). the SRTM mission was a research project initiated to generate a global digital elevation model.

The files are compressed using 7-zip free utility. The files are compressed to around 30% of their original size.

Should you find that some of the files are not working or in other ways are not to specification please leave a comment below.

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