A transition in improving maps: The ColorBrewer example

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Many map makers seek to share their map design efforts by distributing styles, fonts, templates, software, tips, and other sorts of instructions. For example, <www.mapsymbols.com> offers links to a variety of symbol and font design efforts by mapmakers who use ESRI's GIS products. In this article, I will reflect on the format for offering map design assistance that I have used in ColorBrewer (Figure 1). ColorBrewer <www.ColorBrewer.org> is a web tool for selecting color schemes for thematic maps. It has elicited a trickle of enthusiastic e-mail from pleased users who tell me that their maps are improved, and they are relieved to save time on a design challenge for which they are not confident of their skills. ColorBrewer is described in detail in two papers (Harrower and Brewer, in press; Brewer et al. 2003). It is described briefly here to provide context for my reflections on a transition in cartography toward assisting people who want to represent their information spatially but who have little or no training in the conventions and principles of map design and data representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'A transition in improving maps: The ColorBrewer example'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this