Friday, July 17, 2009

ColorBrewer 2: Pick Colors for your map

In a previous post I pointed out that color brewer is a useful tool for choosing colors for your map. Well its been updated with added features, including easy export for ArcGIS. Yay! A welcome update to a useful, free and easy to use tool.

Feature request: When someone next works on this I'd love to see export for Google Earth - support all those naive geographers out there!

Color Blind Issue: I also wonder about the opt out nature of color blind blends - at the moment you are offered color blind unfriendly blends which you deselect by choosing a tick box that removes all color blind unfriendly blends. In the spirit of libertarian paternalism (yup, I read Nudge on holiday) I wouldn't want to stop people being able to access blends that are color blind unfriendly but wouldn't it be wise to make them available on an opt in basis? Make it so the blends are no longer available in the default selection but you can tick a box to access them?

I feel a bit mean grumbling so I think it important to add: this is a lovely tool that has been produced for free by a very smart team. Thank you all for your efforts.


Andy Woodruff said...

Hi Rich,

I am a bit intrigued by the idea of export for Google Earth. What would you envision for that? Some sort of kml that includes the colors (like the sample map of US counties in ColorBrewer)? Or is there some sort of tool or format that I don't know about, by which one can apply the colors to a Google Earth map?

Not that there are plans for updates in the immediate future, but it's an interesting idea to keep in mind!

Rich Treves said...

Hi Andy,

KML has styles that can be used to control the fill and border colors of polygons. You could export your state map from colorbrewer to GE applying styles. A user could then apply the same styles to any polygons.

Of course this doesn't help the naive geographers I mentioned as it requires editing the code but there may be a way of copying colors. At the very least, they can eyeball the colors for selected polygons.

Impressed to hear Axis gives 20% time as per Google, any time you feel like opening a UK office, give me a call :)