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An overview of the Raster Surface toolset

Available with Spatial Analyst license.

Available with 3D Analyst license.

With the Raster Surface tools, you can quantify and visualize a terrain landform represented by a digital elevation model.

Starting with a raster elevation surface as input, with these tools, you can gain information by producing a new dataset that identifies a specific pattern within an original dataset. You can derive patterns that were not readily apparent in the original surface, such as contours, angle of slope, steepest downslope direction (Aspect), and shaded relief (Hillshade).

Each surface tool provides insight into a surface that can be used as an end in itself or as input into additional analysis.



Derives the aspect from each cell of a raster surface.


Creates a line feature class of contours (isolines) from a raster surface.

Contour List

Creates a feature class of selected contour values from a raster surface.

Contour with Barriers

Creates contours from a raster surface. The inclusion of barrier features allows you to independently generate contours on either side of a barrier.


Calculates the curvature of a raster surface, optionally including profile and plan curvature.

Cut Fill

Calculates the volume change between two surfaces. This is typically used for cut and fill operations.


Creates a shaded relief from a surface raster by considering the illumination source angle and shadows.


Identifies the slope (gradient or steepness) from each cell of a raster.

Tools of the Raster Surface toolset

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