# Vertical exaggeration

Vertical exaggeration (VE) is a scale that is used in raised-relief maps, plans and technical drawings (cross section perspectives), in order to emphasize vertical features, which might be too small to identify relative to the horizontal scale.

## Scaling Factor

The vertical exaggeration is given by:

${\mathit {VE}}={\mathit {\frac {VS}{HS}}}$

where VS is the vertical scale and HS is the horizontal scale, both given as representative fractions.

For example, if 1 centimetre (0.39 in) vertically represents 200 metres (660 ft) and 1 centimetre (0.39 in) horizontally represents 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), the vertical exaggeration, 20×, is given by:

${\mathit {VE}}={\frac {\frac {1}{200}}{\frac {1}{4000}}}={\frac {4000}{200}}=20$ .

Vertical exaggeration is given as a number; for example 5× means that vertical measurements are 5 times greater than horizontal measurements. The above example would be given as 20x. A value of 1× indicates that horizontal and vertical scales are identical, and is regarded as having "no vertical exaggeration." Vertical exaggerations less than 1 are not common, but would indicate a reduction in vertical scale (or, equivalently, a horizontal exaggeration).

In some cases, if the vertical exaggeration is too high, the map reader may get confused.

## Criticism

Some scientists object to vertical exaggeration as a tool that makes an oblique visualization dramatic at the cost of misleading the viewer about the true appearance of the landscape.