We have been working on creating striking visualizations of terrain, including most recently, Mapbox Outdoors. These maps utilize contour lines and hill shades to show topography, and are as beautiful as they are useful. Sometimes it is fun to head in a more abstract direction, and revel in a creative expression of Earth surface patterns.
Here I’ve used an alternative technique, depicting the hills and buildings of San Francisco in an exaggerated isometric view. This visualization utilizes data from DataSF and the USGS, and shows heights as a series of horizontal lines, an aesthetic inspired by the album cover of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures.