Map of Central Switzerland using QGIS and Blender. Interlaken is the town near the center.
SRTM raster. Using adaptive subdivision surface allowed me to upscale rasters to 14k x 12k. Used QGIS/gdalwarp to prepare heightmap and map tiles. Approx 2x vertical exaggeration. Using top-down orthographic camera.
GDAL warp command was run from the command line - I find this easier to use. This resizes to 14000 pixels on the x axis, and scales the y axis to keep the aspect ratio the same.
gdalwarp -of GTiff -ot Float32 -s_srs epsg:4326 -t_srs epsg:4326 -ts 14000 0 -r cubic dem.tif dem-scaled.tiff
It’s important with Geotiffs to use ‘Non-color data’ in the image texture.
In this case there were two SRTM tiles; I used Raster Merge in QGIS to join the two DEMs. It also has the advantage that you can set the NoData value to something sensible (like 0) rather than -9999.
Map tiles from OpenStreetMap (wmflabs OSM no labels)
Map layer shader uses a 50/50% mixture of Diffuse / Ambient Occlusion. It turns out ambient occlusion works a bit like 'sky view factor' in GIS, and is a LOT faster to compute in Blender, but is less pronounced. Used two soft blackbody sun lamps, NW 4500K, SE 9000K (shadowless fill light).
Plane node settings:-