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Improving Hillshade in ArcMap

- - - - - hillshade arcmap landserf aspect bias toolbox script

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The following hillshading was created with the hillshade tool (spatial analyst) in ArcMap 10. Its DEM is from SRTM (1 arc-sec, about 26m resolution). It covers 18km on the ground. No image improvements done.




When I calculate hillshade from the same underlying DEM in Landserf (http://www.landserf.org) with applied vertical exaggeration = 1 and aspect bias 50 (from 0 to 100), and with the same light direction, then it looks like the following: This one is better, less rugged and the features appear clearer. Also the aspect bias of 50 gives stronger contrasts. 



How can I implement such a hillshading method from Landserf in ArcMap so that it yields a similar result? Exist somewhere useful Toolbox-scripts? (For example I have found the Swiss Hillshade model from from ESRI Mapping Center).  And especially, how can I implement an aspect bias function? 


I'm very thankful for any hints and suggestions.




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Hi HK120,


Welcome to the forum!  


I don't have any experience hillshading with Landserf and I'm not 100% sure what the 'aspect bias' function does, but I am thinking you could achieve better results in ArcGIS by creating a multiple-direction-oblique-weighted (MDOW) hill shade.  This integrates a couple different light sources to help illuminate the terrain more effectively.  For example you could use the traditional NW illumination at 85% and SE illumination at 15% - experiment to get your desired outcomes relative to the terrain and resolution of the data.


I find both surfaces you created to be slightly noisy (bumpy), and would suggest you run a circular focal mean in ArcGIS to smooth things out a bit.  Again experiment to get your desired results (3x3, 5x5, 10x10).

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com




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Both abowe mentioned suggestions are valid and a part of standard toolbox. However, there are many better alternatives out there. For bumpines definitely use the mdenoise filter (use through GRASS, SAGA or standalone app, all freeware).
As far as hillshade itself MDOW produces too much gray in the flats. 2 more advanced approaches one can apply in ArcGIS + freeware are combining hillshade with 50% of SkyViewFactor a.k.a. SWF (SAGA or standalone freeware apps) or curvature.
I do realize that the instruction are a bit sketchy but with a bit of googling it shouldn't be difficult.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: hillshade, arcmap, landserf, aspect bias, toolbox, script

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