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Shaded relief, or hill shading, is the graphical depiction of a surface in such a way as to highlight the apparent three-dimensional variation in its shape. Typically, shaded relief maps are used to depict natural terrain, often in combination with other topographic information, such as rivers, land cover, and placenames. While shaded relief maps have been produced manually for several hundreds of years, many geographic information systems (GIS) can show shaded relief automatically from digital elevation models (DEMs) or triangulated irregular networks (TINs). This can be useful when visually exploring the landscape features of a terrain or to provide a contextual backdrop for other geographic information.

The Origins of Shaded Relief Depiction

The use of shading to emphasize the three-dimensional quality of terrain features on maps goes ...

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