From DevelopmentSeed Blog:
Making hillshades is a lot faster now!
“We’ve processed the complete world elevation SRTM 90m dataset from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission into an Amazon EBS. This SRTM data provides both high resolution and worldwide coverage of raw data that we use to make the hillshade components of our maps. Having the SRTM data as an EBS means that rendering a world map, including 80% of the globe with all the benefits of CGIAR’s processing, can be achieved by creating an EBS volume in seconds and attaching it to a cloud computer. We did this because it will save us time when rendering maps. Before, the process was quite a bit trickier – browsing and downloading the data individually is tricky to do and nearly impossible to automate. And the important and delicate steps of merging and re-projecting the data not only take processing time but also a significant amount of learning and setup to get going.” (Read more at http://developmentseed.org/blog/2010/may/04/srtm-data-amazons-cloud)
Rendered map of Ayacucho, Peru (by Tom MacWright, DevelopmentSeed):