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Map contour planes—colour

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#1
bob_media

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I'd be curious to know what the views are of forum members about the use of different tints of a single hue to distinguish contour heights on a map.

For example without a 'key' would a general member of the public expect a light tint to denotes a low elevation while a darker tint a higher one or would it be the other way around?

Or there is no accepted convention and the use of colour on each map always needs to be keyed?

I want to avoid using the space for a key if possible.

What do forum members suggest?

B:o)
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#2
Nick H

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I'd be curious to know what the views are of forum members about the use of different tints of a single hue to distinguish contour heights on a map.

For example without a 'key' would a general member of the public expect a light tint to denotes a low elevation while a darker tint a higher one or would it be the other way around?

Or there is no accepted convention and the use of colour on each map always needs to be keyed?

I want to avoid using the space for a key if possible.

What do forum members suggest?

B:o)


A number of Cartotalk members were kind enough to give me some advice on colourmetric conventions in a recent thread. I've been using a colour ramp similar to one suggested by Hans, but stolen from:

http://en.wikipedia....opographic_maps

Sorry, it just struck me, is this for colouring contour lines or for colouring the zones of equal height between contour lines?

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#3
David Medeiros

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I read darker tints as lower elevation and lighter tints as higher for heights above sea level. Bathymetric tints usually go the other way. I believe that’s convention, but some maps can have some complicated applications of naturalistic elevation colors that work differently.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#4
bob_media

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Sorry, it just struck me, is this for colouring contour lines or for colouring the zones of equal height between contour lines?

Regards, N.


Colouring zones of equal height between contour lines.

B:o)

PS Nick thanks for your response and the reference. Will follow-up :)
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#5
bob_media

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I read darker tints as lower elevation and lighter tints as higher for heights above sea level. Bathymetric tints usually go the other way.


David,

Thank you for your input and the suggestion that this may be the convention.

I wonder if anyone has ever researched this from the point of view of the general reader and what the findings were?

Again thank you taking the time to respond.

B:o)
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#6
David Medeiros

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I read darker tints as lower elevation and lighter tints as higher for heights above sea level. Bathymetric tints usually go the other way.


David,

Thank you for your input and the suggestion that this may be the convention.

I wonder if anyone has ever researched this from the point of view of the general reader and what the findings were?

Again thank you taking the time to respond.

B:o)


It has always been my


It has always been my understanding with regards to color and shading of any visual material, that light or bright colors have the effect of moving towards the reader while darker colors or shades recede to the back. I don’t know of particular studies on this effect but I know that it has been mentioned in most (if not all) art and photography classes I have taken. So I think it’s cartographic convention because it reflects the way most individuals are likely to read shading on a map.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#7
bob_media

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On that basis then higher elevation should be coloured lighter than darker ones. Is that correct? Again thanks for your help.
B:o)
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#8
David Medeiros

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On that basis then higher elevation should be coloured lighter than darker ones. Is that correct? Again thanks for your help.
B:o)


Yes, I'm sorry, that’s the connection I was trying to make. I think my first post gave the impression that I was speaking merely of my own reading of map contours when there is a known effect that light and dark shades have on perception of visual hierarchy in images. Hopefully someone else will chime in to verify or disspute my assertion. HTH.

Edited to add: I was backwards on my note about bathymetry above, it follows the same convention: dark equals deep, light equals shallow. There are bound to be exceptions to this but I can't think of any.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#9
Nick H

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PS Nick thanks for your response and the reference. Will follow-up :)


This might be worth a look too, it's the same colour set, but clearer because it doesn't show the RGB codes:

http://upload.wikime...template-en.svg

I've been rendering DEMs of late and the thing I've been struck by is how the tiniest change of tint or hue can so profoundly alter the impression the map offers to the viewer. Even a slight change in the colour of the contours can do this too. Throw terrain-shading into the mix and things get very complicated very quickly! It's about ways of seeing, I suppose.

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#10
Charles Syrett

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I've found that the best thing to do for a standalone map (not part of a series, in which a standard colour ramp would be used for all the maps) is to tailor the colour ramp to the specific topography of the mapped area. The optimal ramp will be one that works well with the shaded relief to bring out topography in areas that otherwise may appear to be too flat or evenly sloped.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

I've been rendering DEMs of late and the thing I've been struck by is how the tiniest change of tint or hue can so profoundly alter the impression the map offers to the viewer. Even a slight change in the colour of the contours can do this too. Throw terrain-shading into the mix and things get very complicated very quickly! It's about ways of seeing, I suppose.

Regards, N.






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