While several colorants were used to color maps, the most readily accessible colorants generated colors of green, red, yellow, and blue. It's no surprise that the most popular hues used in basic contemporary maps are the same as the colors created by these pigments-cyan, magenta, yellow, and blue.
In addition to these five main colors, other hues were used in certain contexts. For example, black was used to indicate land areas that were difficult to reach by road or rail. Dark gray was used to indicate statesly trees, dark green for jungles, and light gray for ice covered areas. As another example, white was used to highlight important features such as towns, mountains, and rivers. The colors used to highlight different types of information remained consistent from map to map even when the actual colors displayed on the map changed over time.
During the 19th century, coal gas lamps became available as an alternative source of light. These lamps produced a strong yellow color when burning brightly. This color was useful for indicating locations where there were large numbers of lamps in use, such as at railway stations and downtown areas. The fact that the lamp color changed when it burned out rather than remaining the same color all the time meant that people would not need to constantly refresh their impression of where lights were visible from outside their own houses.
In recent years, computer technology has allowed for the introduction of new colors into mapping practices.
Colors are frequently used to depict terrain, with various colors signifying distances above or below sea level. Because various colors are utilized to convey different sorts of information, a new standard for map coloring has emerged. The commonly accepted practice is to use red for high altitude rock and ice, yellow for low-altitude sand, green for vegetation, and blue for oceans.
The reason world maps tend to be colored in these specific ways is because they were first created by land owners who could decide what colors would best represent their properties. For example, someone who owned lots of rocks might put them in the topography section of the map using the red color scale, while someone who owned lots of sand would use it under the sea, etc.
These map coloring conventions still exist today, but many modern maps include additional information such as climate zones, population centers, danger levels (for emergency situations), and transportation networks. These items can be shown in different colors too!
Finally, some maps may include other types of information not listed here. For example, some maps may show tribal boundaries or other important cultural sites.
Different colors are used to represent various heights, governmental divisions, roadways, and so on. Cartographers use color on maps to depict certain features. For example, red lines on a map may indicate rivers, while blacktop roads will be shown with gray or white paint.
Color also is used to denote specific information about features shown on the map. For example, cities will often have different colors to distinguish themselves from other places on the map. Country borders are usually shown in black and white, but sometimes they're colored in as well.
Finally, some maps show data values using colors. For example, a green number over a city on a weather map indicates that average temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Numbers can also be colored red to indicate danger or risk. For example, on an earthquake map, red numbers over major cities mean that it is likely that buildings will collapse due to severe damage.
Maps have been used for navigation, research, and entertainment since their earliest days. But what most people don't know is that the concept of using colors to denote different types of information was first developed by Carl G. J. Palsson who invented the world's first color-coded mapping system in 1951!
Color is used on maps by cartographers to depict certain characteristics. Color use is always constant on a single map and is frequently consistent across various types of maps created by different cartographers and publishers. The most common purposes for using color on maps are to indicate ownership, useful resources, geographic features, and aesthetic values.
Maps have been colored by artists since the 15th century. Before that time, colors were added to maps by hand. As printers became available in the 16th century, it was possible to print maps with black and white lines instead of red and green ones, but many early maps were produced with color separations issued from typefaces or hand-painted plates.
Color printing technology has improved greatly over time. In the mid-19th century, an industry of map dealers arose to sell reprints of old maps in color. This was the first time large numbers of people had access to colored maps. Also around this time, steam-powered pencil sharpeners came onto the market, allowing school children to color maps at home for a few pence per map.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, photolithography began to replace color separation as the method of choice for printing maps. This new technology allowed for much more detail than was possible with color alone, and also for a wider variety of subjects.
Color is used most prominently on physical maps to depict variations in height. Elevations are frequently shown with a green color palette. Dark green is typically used to symbolize low-lying ground, whereas lighter colors of green are used to indicate higher altitudes. Blues are used to symbolize water on physical maps, with darker blues denoting the deepest water. A red-blue color scheme is often used to show regions where iron ore occurs. Orange is used to denote hot areas, such as deserts or volcanoes.
On electronic maps, color is commonly used to differentiate data types within a single map layer. For example, roads might be colored red, while blue marks would indicate lakes. The choice of colors can be quite subjective depending on the type of map and the preferences of the map publisher.
In addition to showing differences in elevation or contour lines, colors are also used to highlight certain features on a map. For example, you may want to make sure that tourists are able to find their way around a city by coloring in major streets and intersections. These types of features are called "symbols" and they are usually displayed as black spots on physical maps but boxes on electronic maps. You can draw your own symbols or use those provided by a map publisher.
Finally, colors are used to identify different sources of information. For example, government agencies may wish to distinguish their owned facilities from private businesses by coloring them different colors.