Virtual Earth Map Style Gets some Shaded Relief
I just noticed that Microsoft’s Virtual Earth map tiles have been given a face-lift with the addition of Cartographic Shaded Relief. VE has had the best cartography of the big players, and this makes it even better.
Here are some snapshots of Virtual Earth 2D (not 3D)…
So what does that mean for Virtual Earth 3D? The 3D mode had been using the same (or at least identical) tiles as 2D. Will 3D have double shaded relief; because 3D adds its own relief shading on top of the map tiles? The answer is no. It looks as if Virtual Earth is serving up a separate set of map tiles, depending on mode (2D or 3D).
Here are two snapshots comparing Crater Lake, Oregon in 2D mode and 3D mode. Notice that the 2D map tiles are not being used, or there would be a double shading effect -embedded shading in the map tile and applied shading of the 3D mode.
I don’t know if the Virtual Earth team had been using the same tiles for 2D and 3D up to this point, but they certainly are not now. In any case, well done, VE. This is a beautiful addition.
More info on DEMs (Digital Elevation Models).