ColorBrewer is an online Flash app designed to help select appropriate data coloring schemes for maps, including sequential (choropleths), diverging (data with break points), and qualitative (discrete categorical data). I’ve covered version 1.0 before, and now ColorBrewer 2.0 is out. Not a huge number of functional differences, but some useful additions (and one disappointing subtraction):
- More parameters are selected by drop-down boxes instead of buttons; bit faster this way
- All controls are on the left side, making them easier to find
- You can now choose between a colored background and a terrain background
- Color transparency can now be set between 0 and 100%
- More choices for background, road, city and border colors
- You can now screen color schemes by appropriateness for color blindness, photocopying and print. In version 1.0, you only had icons showing which uses were appropriate, and these are still available in the “Score Card” tab at lower right
- More options for color scheme export directly from the program, including an Excel file of all available color schemes, export in Adobe Swatch Exchange format (ASE), and in-program text hex color codes for copying and pasting into graphics programs.
- No more map zoom; I miss this option.
Here’s a screenshot of 2.0:
The National Cancer Institute has taken the ColorBrewer color ramps and incorporated them into ColorTool, a free plugin for ArcMap. From the website:
The program runs from a button in the toolbar and opens a form that guides the user in choosing a classification scheme…. ColorTool supports Quantile, Equal Interval, Natural Breaks (Jenks), and Unique Value classification types…. There are also legend options, area borders, and exclusion statements in the tool. ColorTool simplifies the display process by offering preset color schemes and eliminating incompatible options.