ArcGIS Pro

Adding a Scientific Color Scheme to your ArcGIS Pro Project

This morning I saw in a tweet describing an awesome color scheme created for scientific visualizations, asking how it could be added to ArcGIS. Right away Craig Williams swooped in with this timely response. And excellent mapping ensued shortly thereafter. Here’s the lowdown…

So what are these color schemes? In the last few years there’s been increased awareness of the need for well-designed color schemes in the science community. We’ve all seen more than our fair share of spectral or rainbow color schemes that misrepresent data and have poor readability for those with color vision deficiencies (also known as color blindness). This has led to a golden age of color scheme creation where scientists around the world are looking to #endRainbow color scheme use and are designing better color schemes.

These color schemes can be used with ArcGIS and we’ve incorporated several into ArcGIS Pro in recent releases. At ArcGIS Pro 2.2, the now well-known color schemes inferno, magma, plasma and viridis were added. ArcGIS Pro 2.3 followed this by adding cividis, which provides better color vision deficiency support. The styles shown above contain color schemes made by Fabio Crameri and Kristen M. Thyng and are now shared in an ArcGIS Online group of Scientific Color Schemes we hope to grow with more examples over time. Happy mapping!

About the authors

I have far too much fun looking for ways to understand and present data visually, hopefully driving product strategy and engaging users. I work in the ArcGIS Living Atlas team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways and then sharing the process. I also design user experiences for maps and apps. When I'm not doing those things, I'm chasing around toddlers and wrangling chickens, and generally getting into other ad-hoc adventures. Life is good. You might also like these Styles for ArcGIS Pro:


Craig Williams

I'm the Product Engineering Director for Mapping and Cartography at Esri working on ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Enterprise. I have interests in text placement, map symbolization, visualization, and 3D cartography. My day-to-day work involves working on new cartographic software development, but I occasionally finds the time to make a map or two.


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