Mountains that stand up

This map of the 48 contiguous US states features plan oblique relief, a terrain rendering technique that yields three-dimensional mountains. Higher elevations have vertical offset. The map also employs cross-blended hypsometric tints to represent elevation zones. They are the usual colors found on maps but with a major difference: arid lowlands are brown instead of green. We don't want to have Death Valley looking like a jungle, do we?

I originally made this map in 2007. The 2020 update has lighter and brighter colors, many more place name labels, and a new title. It is an alternative to my Physical Features of the Contiguous US map that offers land cover colors and a standard shaded relief treatment. I hope that you will enjoy both.

Tom Patterson

May 27, 2020

Map downloads—pick the version best for you

Plan-oblique Relief Map of the US

On-screen viewing and high-resolution printing

RGB JPEG image, 45 x 30", 350 DPI, 30.4 MB

Terms of use

This map is in the public domain. You may use the map any way that you want and citing it is not required.




Contact me

I will periodically update the map. Please let me know about major features to include or any problems that you find.


Tom Patterson Bio

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Version 2.0, May 27, 2020