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Countour line color

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Mississippi Mapper

Mississippi Mapper


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Just found the site. Been reading all the topics and its great. The question I have is, I have a 1:50,000 map and the base layer will be 5' contour lines on a white background. Other features include a lot of roads, streams, and transparent green public land polygon overlays. Just curious if anyone has a suggestion on good colors that will be usable but not overpower the map. Thanks!



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Brown is traditional, but with four color printing requires excelent registration over the whole sheet.
This is because process brown requires C, M, Y, and sometime K.
That is the reason so many topographic maps are printed in spot colors (seven for an Canadian NTS map).

We used to use dark purple sometimes, instead of brown.
The decision largly depends on the other symbolization: it has to be planed as a whole scheme.




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Agreed with Mark - decision needs to be made as part of the suite of colours you'll use on the map. One way to do it is to divide the colour spectrum into regions you'll use for physical/hydro/transport/boundaries, etc. Your contour line colour might then be chosen in the physical range. I've seen nice ones in grey too. One of the nicest I've ever seen varied the contour colour with the land cover (an Indonesian topographic map, though France, Switzerland, etc, do blue ones for glaciers too).

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