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shaded relief: GIS vs. Photoshop

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#1
Dennis McClendon

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This is another in our continuing series "Dennis finally tiptoes into the world of GIS." But I figure the answers might also be useful to others . . .

I've always done shaded relief by downloading DEMs, running them through MacDEM and Photoshop, and then registering those by eye to lat/long lines. Now I'm wondering if it's easier to do relief through ArcGIS, and what advantages there might be to one approach or another. In this case, I'm doing a map of four counties in Colorado. If I understand, I can download DEMs somewhere, create hillshading in ArcGIS, and then export a raster image with the same neatline as the linework (roads, county lines, etc.) will have.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#2
Rob

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you will need the Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst extension (each about $2500) to have the "hillshade tool" (unless that's changed with 9.2). The registration with othef data as you described should not be an issue at all, however.

I work in Arc pretty frequently, and hillshades are still one thing that I regularly do outside of the program, usually in VNS2, and then composite in either AI or PS with the rest of the map. I just find that there is more quality and control with other workflows.

#3
Dennis McClendon

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you will need the Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst extension (each about $2500) to have the "hillshade tool"


Oh.

So how do you GIS guys reproject the raster images once the map area is large enough for projection to matter (and cylindrical projections are undesirable)?
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#4
Martin Gamache

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Manifold is your friend there or NSD Pro.

I tend to use the former.

#5
BEAVER

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Not sure why you would need to reproject. I use Manifold or Global Mapper (both $250 each) where I bring the DEM file for hill shading. I set the projection to whatever the final map will be in and export as an TIFF, JPG or BMP. Then I can bring that image into other package to use it as background. You can get the DEM data from USGS here

http://seamless.usgs...less/viewer.php

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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I prefer to use VNS (surprisingly enough it's in the same price range as Spatial Analyst, but it doesn't require an ArcGIS license to run on) to do the hillshading. It gives you a lot of options to create a shaded relief. There's a bunch of samples here: http://www.3dnworld....lapp.php#CARTOG.

Aside from shaded relief, it can be used for other 3D visualisation work as well. It's not an easy application to learn, but there's a very good user group for it.

Add Manifold for any mosaicking and you're set. Manifold on its own can also do a pretty decent shaded relief, but it gives you less control over it.
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#7
MapMedia

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Yup, VNS is likely the best tool for producing relief, aside from Spatial Analyst/Arcview. You could buy a used 3.x Arcview license w/Spatial Analyst on ebay to save $.

A decent software comparison on relief hillshade production can be found here.

#8
Rob

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you will need the Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst extension (each about $2500) to have the "hillshade tool"

Oh.

crazy, isn't it?

#9
Nick Springer

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I use Manifold to register and project the DEMs, but don't do any hillshading there. I export the projected image, which is clipped to the same area as the vector data and do the hillshading in Photoshop usually.

A decent software comparison on relief hillshade production can be found here.


Interesting report. To my eye the main difference was the contrast and brightness for all the applications shown. I think if you balanced all of those in PS to the same levels they would pretty much be exactly the same .

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#10
Martin Gamache

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I use Manifold to register and project the DEMs, but don't do any hillshading there. I export the projected image, which is clipped to the same area as the vector data and do the hillshading in Photoshop usually.


A decent software comparison on relief hillshade production can be found here.


Interesting report. To my eye the main difference was the contrast and brightness for all the applications shown. I think if you balanced all of those in PS to the same levels they would pretty much be exactly the same .


Also keep in mind that comparison is 5 years old now.


you will need the Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst extension (each about $2500) to have the "hillshade tool"

Oh.

crazy, isn't it?


In all fairness if all you want is shaded relief then yes, $2500 is alot to pay for any of these extensions or for VNS for that matter. But the fact is that they all do more than hillshading.

#11
burwelbo

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I use ERMapper for doing hillshading, mosaicing, colourbalancing. The best part of the package is that what ever you do is automatically shown to you on screen. You don't have to wait for data to process to see the results. If you do alot of remote sensing work, I would highly recommend it. Its much cheaper than other RS software and very easy to learn. I think its priced just under $5000 US.

#12
Hans van der Maarel

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I use ERMapper for doing hillshading, mosaicing, colourbalancing. The best part of the package is that what ever you do is automatically shown to you on screen. You don't have to wait for data to process to see the results. If you do alot of remote sensing work, I would highly recommend it. Its much cheaper than other RS software and very easy to learn. I think its priced just under $5000 US.


I've just started using ERMapper at a client's office to do some mosaicking of aerial photos. I have to say that the interface, and in fact the way the whole application works, is not very intuitive. It gets the job done, after a lot of trial and error.
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