Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Space Map Palette

April 12th, 2011

Inspired by the great colors in today’s Google image celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight, I made a palette of them over at Colourlovers. Here’s what it looks like. Click on it if you want to go to its colourlovers page and get the RGBs or HEXs.

These colors could form the basis for a pretty spacial map.

The Colors For Maps Booklet

November 2nd, 2010

Colors For Maps – This takes you to the purchase page.

I’ve been so busy over the last couple of days getting everything set for the debut of “Colors For Maps,” my newest publication. It’s a 40 page booklet containing 30 color palettes chosen for their usefulness in map designs of many types.

So far, these are the review comments I’ve gotten:
“This is well worth the $10 Gretchen is charging for the booklet. Maybe next we can persuade Gretchen to come out with a poster that we can print on our plotters.” Amanda Taub, GIS Analyst, GISP (via the LoneGISPro group)

“I would use this information in this book. We are constantly making quick prints for executives (Governor or Legislature). There is an art and a science to portraying the information appropriately and you only get one brief chance to get it right. We have used [an online color-picking site] for several years…but it doesn’t always give us exactly what we need. This booklet takes the next step.” Learon Dalby, Geo Program Manager, State of Arkansas (via email).

“Just bought it…Nice!” @fgcartographix (via twitter).

For those who have already purchased the booklet, please do let me know either in the comments or via email what you think of it.

Special thanks goes out to the peer-editors, which are listed on the booklet page. But also I need to make sure that my web designer – Becky Dobbins – gets full credit for the wonderful job she did setting up the booklet page and making sure it interfaces with PayPal and Google Checkout (you can pay via credit card with PayPal too) with a seamless and secure check-out.

I’ll write more about the making of the booklet in future posts. For now I am going to sit back, relax, and enjoy this vanilla with vanilla cupcake my husband bought me to celebrate the booklet being done…finally. :)

Almost Done: Colors Booklet

October 22nd, 2010

I’m nearing the end of a 2-month long project to create a booklet of colors specifically geared toward the geoprofessional. While there are some great ways to “cheat” and develop a color palette (see Shell We? post), it does take some time to do it. The aim of this booklet is to cut out any semblance of actual work on the reader’s part, allowing a reader to pick a successful color palette instantly. :)

And, like Elmore Leonard said, “I try to leave out the parts that people skip,” meaning that the booklet is high on substance and low on fluff. I hope to announce its availability for download on this site very soon. Probably in the next two weeks, fingers crossed.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If there’s anything concerning color that you think would be great to have in the booklet let me know. I know there are geopeeps out there reading these posts regularly and it’d be great to get a discussion going (but perhaps not on the use of the term geopeeps which I know may be a bit too technical for some people).

Constantly Amazed

October 18th, 2010

It’s amazing how much I don’t know. I met someone the other day who looked through my book and started talking about colors with specific attention to how the Pantone color scheme works. Pantone is not mentioned in my book, mainly because the main-stream GIS software doesn’t use Pantone colors, instead it uses HSV and RGB. You may also need to know HEX and maybe be familiar with Munsell if you do soils GIS. But Pantone? Not high on the list of priorities. However, it is definitely interesting, especially as I’ve gotten very into color theory lately.

This new acquaintance let me in on a little of the history of Munsell – how it had been in a bit of a competition with Pantone for the “big” business (textiles, printing) but Pantone pretty much cornered the big-business market. Interesting stuff. Most of us don’t think about this at all, you just pick a color, use whatever system gets you that color, and call it good.

The Pantone color guide, which displays the Pantone Matching System (PMS), is $165.00 off their website but you may be able to get it cheaper through Amazon. What it does is provide exact colors that can be replicated exactly as they are shown on the guide, no matter what is used to produce the color. You are supposed to purchase the guide every year because the colors yellow over time.

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration