I´m using QGIS 3.6 to create a Thematic Map with a basemap (STRM).

So, to do that, I downloaded the STRM file (*.TIF) in this site: https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

File Name: s11_e040_1arc_v3

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After the download I imported the two Layers (STRM.tif + DISTRICT.shp) to QGIS, and the result was this:

enter image description here

I´m not happy with the result because I would like to make the STRM more visible, note that the district.shp has 45% of OPACITY...

enter image description here

How can I make the map/STRM more expressive to see the elevations variation?

Do I have to exaggerate the elevation? if, yes how can I do?

NOTE: I´m working in 2D not 3D (I know how to do in 3D view).

  • 2
    I suppose you should use a hill shade layer and use blending for hill shade and srtm. An other option to use 3D view in QGIS 3.
    – Zoltan
    Oct 14, 2019 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


I suggest that you use a Hillshade symbology for the SRTM and then try using Multiply blending (put the SRTM layer on top in the Layer List). You can exaggerate with Z-factor:

enter image description here

  • Hi HEXAMON, thanks for the answer... It works.... Oct 14, 2019 at 15:33
  • 3
    Thanks for highlighting this great feature. I had no idea hillshade rendering was available as a symbology option, but apparently QGIS has had this option since version 2.16.
    – csk
    Oct 14, 2019 at 15:52
  • @PauloMartinho Great, good to hear! Please consider marking this answer as having solved your issue, since it helps others looking for information on the same topic.
    – hexamon
    Oct 15, 2019 at 11:25

You have at last two possibility

  • First is to use Hillshade (that mimic the shadows due to elevation and help to visualise the relief), this is done either by using the Hillshade renderer (raster properties>layer styling choose hillshade) or by using the Hillshade tool from the processing toolbox (you may have to reproject or to use the Z factor if your SRTM is in geographic coordinate)
  • Second is to style your DEM with a color ramp according to the elevation (usually from green for low elevation to brown or white for hight elevation but that's up to you)

And you can even use both at the same time to get a stronger effect (you need to duplicate your layer and use blending mode)

Note that if you use the blending mode "multiply" rather than opacity on your distric layer you wont get the wash-out color

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