Module 07

Publishing custom shaded reliefs

Yesterday in the Great Smokies
Webcam archive
GEO 409: Advanced GIS

Last few weeks!

  • Two more web pages to complete
    • and the semester is over!
  • Open lab during weeks 16 and 17 (final exam week)
  • with no new instruction.

Final project?

  • A web page showing your exploration of lidar
  • with any interactive web map of a point cloud (made in the last module)
  • and two other visualizations (made in this class).
  • Think of it as a portfolio showing your expertise.


  • Create custom shaded relief maps
  • Publish them to a public web page (example)
  • Check out the maps on this page.

Blender 3D

  • Professional, free and open 3D software
  • enables ray tracing to create subtle shading effects.
  • Complex user interface
  • but will focus on a very narrow use-case.

Sean Conway

  • UKy Geography major (2015)
  • making some cool stuff and 💰
  • Muir Way


Ray tracing

  • Captures an atmospheric quality
  • by illuminating nearby objects with reflected light.
  • Takes a long minute to render.


  • traditional hillshade
  • with Blender scene

In-class task

  • Create new Map Project, "module-07"
  • open application Notebook, shaded-relief.ipynb, and
  • create a shaded relief in ArcGIS Pro


  • Let's try a different approach
  • using multidirectional lighting.
  • Use the Imagery > Raster functions...

Prepare for Blender

  • Cannot use ArcGIS Pro layers directly.
  • Need a 16-bit integer raster
  • as a height map
  • to displace a plane.


  • We'll use the Notebook
  • to normalize our elevation data.
  • Let's do it!


  • You should have two files in your project
    • elevations.tif (16-bit integer raster)
    • elevations.tfw (world file to georeference TIFF)


  • Let's fire up Blender
  • and use the pre-configured scene: scene.blend in the application folder.
  • Close ArcGIS Pro
  • and follow the lesson documentation.

Overlay data?

  • Additional features can be added to the scene.
  • Blender output is minimal but detailed.
  • Try not to overdo it.

Data sources

  • The USGS National Map
  • aggregates many good layers for base maps.
  • Download data

Adobe Illustrator?

  • Download and install extension.
  • Login using ArcGIS credentials.
  • Export AIX file from ArcGIS Pro.

Public website

  • Create GitHub repository
  • enable GitHub Pages
  • and edit
  • to include map and documentation.

Level up your web game

  • Create an index.html in your new repo
  • and add custom elements and styles.
  • HTML tutorial
  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for creating web pages and web applications.
  • That's next week!