The visual representation of data is at the heart of science. From
weather forecasts, to hazard maps, to the topography of planets, the
choice of colors is critical to conveying information. Yet, largely due
to historical usage, default software options, and an apparent
attraction to multiple bright colors, color maps such as rainbow-like
“jet” are still widely used. These color maps are problematic from
both a scientific and societal perspective. For instance, they can
distort data because they use uneven color gradients, which lose meaning
when printed in black and white, and color combinations are often
applied that are unintuitive to the data they are trying to represent.
From an inclusivity standpoint, such rainbow maps are also unreadable
for the population with some form of color-vision deficiency. Here, we
present the work that has been accomplished by the scientific (inc.
visualization) community, as well as the readily available solution -
“Scientific Colour Maps” (Crameri 2018, Zenodo; Crameri et al. (2020;
Nature Coms); www.fabiocrameri.ch/colourmaps). This initiative features
freely available, citable color map downloads for an extensive suite of
software programs, and handy how-to guide, and discussion around data
types and coloring options. There is a pot of scientific gold at the end
of every rainbow. Crameri, F. (2018). Scientific colour-maps. Zenodo.
http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1243862 Crameri, F., Shephard, G.E. Heron,
P.J. The misuse of colour in science. (2020 v11; Nature Communications)