Rockies, High Plains and Intermountain West - Small
View looking northwest over the Colorado-New Mexico border.
This is the same terrain plot as the larger version, reduced and cropped at an angle to emphasize the curvature of the earth. The reduction makes the line work extremely fine and delicate. The moon and comet Kohotek were not random graphic elements but correctly placed in a kind of programmer's in-joke.
This "fishnet" terrain plot was a computer-graphics milestone in 1989 and has remained a classic. Projecting millions of elevation data points onto a sphere creates a natural horizon, while adding ridge lines makes landforms easy to see. The principles are simple, but took days of programing and about 150 hours of mainframe computing to execute.
The map covers a vast area-the Colorado border with Kansas and Nebraska are at the far right, the Black Hills and Big Horn Mountains are near the horizon at upper right, while the Grand Canyon and Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas can be seen at far left.
Note: a frequency interference pattern appears in the sky in the enlargement views. This is an artifact of the web and monitor pixel structure's attempt to represent extremely closely-spaced fine lines, and does not appear on the printed piece.