Freeware, Shareware & Low-Cost Software

Global Mapper (PC)
Global Mapper allows one to view, merge, and export a large variety of vector, raster, and elevation data sets. It can create coloured shaded relief and change the projection of DEMs.

GRASS (PC/MacOS X/Unix)
A relatively complex Geographical Information System (GIS) with raster, topological, vector, image processing, and graphic production functionality. It is open source and free.

LandSerf (PC/MacOS X/Unix/Linux)
LandSerf is a freely available Geographical Information System (GIS) for the visualisation and analysis of surfaces. Applications include visualisation of landscapes; geomorphological analysis; gaming development; GIS file conversion; map output; archaeological mapping and analysis; surface modelling and many others.

MapRender3D (PC)
MapRender3D Pro creates relief maps in both 2D and 3D mode. It offers different types of shading and colouring. Maps are coloured on the basis of height, slope or exposition. It imports most current DEM file formats and projects DEMs to different cartographic projections.

MICRODEM (PC)
Displays and merges digital elevation models, satellite imagery, scanned maps and vector map data from different sources and formats. Creating coloured shaded relief is also possible.

Natural Scene Designer (PC/Mac)
A 3D program that lets you design, render and animate natural outdoor scenes. It also renders two dimensional shaded relief.

QGIS (Linux/Unix/MacOS X/Windows/Android)
QGIS is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities.

Relief! (PC)
Relief! creates shaded relief images, optionally with colours according to elevation, slope or aspect. Output images are geocoded for immediate use with MapInfo or as Windows bitmaps.

Relief Shader
Relief Shader is a standalone product designed to produce beautiful shaded relief images from digital elevation models (DEM). Relief Shader supports most of the industry DEM formats.

Terrain Sculptor (PC/Mac/Linux)
Terrain Sculptor is a specialized application for the generalization of terrain models for relief shading. Terrain Sculptor removes irrelevant terrain detail and accentuates important terrain features.