I'm new to GIS, and I'm just doing this as a hobby.

I've seen 3d relief maps like this one: https://i.redd.it/peq57uoa28c51.jpg and I wanted to try my hand at making my own. I used the topoView service from USGS, and was able to acquire a .tif file, but that's the furthest I got.

Does anyone know how to create a relief like the one in the picture above? It doesn't look like the original author has any tutorials or guides.

  • you will need a high resolution DEM to drape your tiff over it. hopefully your tiff is 300dpi if you want to print this out. see viewer.nationalmap.gov/basic and elevation coverages.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 4:09
  • @Mapperz not trying to print it out, just want to make a digital model like the image above. to start with that, what exactly would I do to make a relief? found a few different results from the link you sent, but I'm not sure what to do next. Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 4:25

1 Answer 1


Basically you need two things:

  1. A source of DEM data
  2. An overlay to drape over it eg a topographic map source

The image below uses

  1. DEM data from ELVIS (https://elevation.fsdf.org.au/ - search for Katoomba)
  2. An overlay using topographic tiles from NSW Spatial Services (set up a new WMS/WMTS connection using https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/public/NSW_Topo_Map/MapServer)/WMTS/1.0.0/WMTSCapabilities.xml Hillshade map of Katoomba, NSW
  • Use the Raster Terrain Analysis -> Hillshade tool from the Processing Toolbox to create a Hillshade layer from the DEM layer
  • Set the Hillshade layer above the Topographic overlay in the Layer Toolbox
  • Under Layer Properties -> Symbology, set the Color Rendering: Blending Mode to Multiply
  • thanks, I did this. what do I need to do next to combine the two layers, export them, and render them? Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 16:50
  • Printing/exporting is a whole separate question! Simplest option is to use Project->Import/Export->Export Map to Image... (or PDF). More sophisticated is to use Project->New Print Layout... The latter will probably require some research. Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 22:18
  • sorry, I meant how can I make the street map blend with the heightmap? I want to get to the same result you did with your screenshot. then I can simply clip and export into blender. Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 23:32
  • See the 3 steps above - 1. you need a Hillshade layer. 2. The hillshade layer needs to be above the topo (street map), and 3. The Blending Mode of the Hillshade layer needs to be set to Multiply Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 10:30
  • thanks, that's done. now, how can I combine the two layers and crop the map? Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 18:28

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