Learning Module: Creating Hillshades for Backgrounds

Learning Outcomes


Take a look at a number of different maps and you'll see one of the most common types of backgrounds is a "hillshade". This is where the map-maker has simulated what the area would look like if you were looking down on it from above and the sun was shining on it at an angle.

Some students will use the "backgrounds" provided by ArcMap behind there maps. These are ok in informal situation but the backgrounds are copyrighted and are supposed to maintain the text in the lower right of the background when you reproduce the background in any way. The quality, especially of the text, is also poor so you really don't want to use these for any professional product and they are not accepted as backgrounds for class assignments and projects.