Create a nice map with shaded relief in ArcGIS

Once completed the hard work involved in making a map, beautiful presentation is how to add value, for more visual appeal to those who qualify our work, especially in geological maps, land use, supervised classifications, slope, etc. The procedure is very simple, just need to play with colors and transparency to get enough realism.

Land use

This example shows a map of land use obtained from a supervised classification, to show the relief and give a realistic tone, you need to create a shadow map from a DEM, with Hillshade tool located at:

ArcToolbox > Spatial Analyst Tools > Surface

Hillshade in ArcGIS

Once generated the shadow map (Hillshade), activate the Effects bar from the Customize > Toolbars menu, as the next step in the Table of Contents section List by drawing order, it is necessary to place first the raster Hillshade.

Barra Effects ArcGIS

Finally, in the Effects bar, select the Hillshade, and play with the values of transparency (recommended set between 40-65%), in addition you can adjust the brightness and contrast. It is important to consider the order of the layers, the previous image is active layer slopes to disable the next layer (land use) is shown, resulting in an image that includes relief, visually more striking than the first this entry.

Relief Hillshade ArcGIS

Another option but aesthetically less pleasing, go to the properties of a layer located above Hillshade in the Display tab, under Transparency set the value of transparency.

Please help me with writing (comment), my English is not good.

2 thoughts on “Create a nice map with shaded relief in ArcGIS”

  1. Joel Goodchild says:

    Hey man,

    Beautiful map there. I’m interested in the detail of the river itself that you’ve managed to display from the DEM and wanted to compare it to satellite imagery. What coordinates can I find the area at?

    Many thanks

  2. Dan Sandhaus says:


    The English is kind of rough, but the meaning is clear, and the step-by-step instructions are great. Thank you for this short tutorial.

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