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Posted on March 30th, 2012

Free For All! – ColorExplorer

In keeping with my recent focus on map making (see the recent G-FAQ two-part series), seems like the obvious choice for my Free For All! of the month. This website is a very powerful tool to help you pick out color palettes for your next map, website or for any purpose that requires some color advice. While admittedly I have yet to explore all of the tools ColorExplorer offers, my favorite so far is the option to start with a single color you like and then to find a series of colors that are complimentary. Let me walk you through this process:

  1. Go to the Color Picker section of the site, accessed here. Once on this page, enter the RGB, HSV or Hex code for your favorite color. For this example I used the RGB code for the orange in the Apollo Mapping logo (i.e. R – 244, G – 117, B -33).
  2. Once you have entered the color code you like, push the ADD TO PALETTE button on the upper right of the page to lock this into your palette.
  3. Now click on the Color Matching tab, accessed here. Once on this page, you can use the pull down menu in the COLOR MATCHING ALGORITHM section to change the color combinations. For this example, I chose Single Hue and here is what the site came up with – some very sweet color combos!

If you start with shades of blue and green in Step One above, you can find some nice combinations of colors to use when creating a legend for a map or when selecting colors for oceans, forests and plains inside of ArcGIS. I have found additional hues to use on my map by selecting colors from multiple Color Matching Algorithms. It seems that all/most of the palettes ColorExplorer generates compliment each other.

Happy color hunting!

Brock Adam McCarty

Map Wizard

(720) 470-7988

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