# Using Python to calculate northern hemisphere’s surface land coverage

Yesterday during my lunch break I was rather bored; it is unseasonably cold for the fall, even in Calgary, and a bit foggy too.
For something to do I browsed the Earth Science beta on Stack Exchange looking for interesting questions (as an aside, I encourage readers to look at the unanswered questions).
There was one that piqued my curiosity, “In the northern hemisphere only, what percentage of the surface is land?”.
It occurred to me that I could get together an answer using an equal area projection map and a few lines of Python code; and indeed in 15 minutes I whipped-up this workflow:

• Invert and import this B/W image of equal area projection (Peters) for the Northern hemisphere (land = white pixels).

Source of original image (full globe): Wikimedia Commons

• Store the image as a Numpy array.
• Calculate the total number of pixels in the image array (black + white).
• Calculate the total number of white pixels (1s) by summing the entire array. Black pixels (0s) will not contribute.
• Calculate percentage of white pixels.

The result I got is 40.44%. Here’s the code:

```# import libraries
import numpy as np
from skimage import io
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

# import image

# check the image
fig = plt.figure(figsize=(20, 10))
ax.set_xticks([])
ax.set_yticks([])
plt.imshow(north_equal_area, cmap = 'gray');

# Do the calculations
r, c = np.shape(north_equal_area)
sz =  r*c
s = np.sum(north_equal_area)
print(np.round(s/sz*100, decimals=2))
>>> 40.44```

As suggested in a comment to my initial answer, I run the same Python script for the entire globe and got the expected 30% land coverage:

```# import image

# Do the calculations
r1, c1= np.shape(equal_area)
sz1 =  r1*c1
s1 = np.sum(equal_area)
print(np.round(s1/sz1*100, decimals=2))
>>> 30.08
```

# Visualizing colormap artifacts

In Evaluate and compare colormaps, I have shown how to extract and display the lightness profile of a colormap using Python. I do this routinely with colormaps, but I realize it takes an effort, and not all users may feel comfortable using code to test whether a colormap is perceptual or not.

This got me thinking that there is perhaps a need for a user-friendly, interactive tool to help identify colormap artifacts, and wondering how it would look like.

In a previous post, Comparing color palettes, I plotted the elevation for the South American continent from the Global Land One-km Base Elevation Project using four different color palettes. In Figure 1 below I plot again 3 of those: rainbow, linear lightness rainbow, and grayscale, respectively, from left to right. In maps like these some artifacts are very evident. For example there’s a classic film negative effect in the map on the left, where the Guiana Highlands and the Brazilian Highlands, both in blue, seem to stand lower than the Amazon basin, in violet. This is due to the much lower lightness (or alternatively intensity) of the colour blue compared to the violet.

Figure 1

However, other artifacts are more subtle, like the inversion of the highest peaks in the Andes, which are coloured in red, relative to their surroundings, in particular the Altipiano, an endorheic basin that includes Lake Titicaca.

My idea for this tool is simple, and consists of two windows. The first is a basemap window which can display either a demo dataset or user data loaded from an ASCII grid file. In this window the user would interactively select a profile by building a polyline with point-and-click, like the one in Figure 2 in white.

Figure 2

The second window would show the elevation profile with the colour fill assigned based on the colormap, like in Figure 3 at the bottom (with colormap to the right), and with a profile of the corresponding colour intensities (on a scale 1-255) at the top.

In this view it is immediately evident that, for example, the two highest peaks near the center, coloured in red, are relative intensity lows. Another anomaly is the absolute intensity low on the right side, corresponding to the colour blue, where the elevation profile varies smoothly.

Figure 3

I created this concept prototype using a combination of Matlab, Python, and Surfer. I welcome suggestions for possible additional features, and would like to hear form folks interested in collaboration on a web app (ideally in Python).

# Do you know any cool apps?

I’d like to pick up my Apps page, which I sort of abandoned a while back.

If you have any great app to recommend, I’d love to hear about it so please add them in the comment section to this post. I am looking for Apps for Android and iPhone/iPad in the following categories – ideally free or very low-cost, possibly open-source:

Geology

Geophysics

Cartography and mapping

Planetary Science

Image Processing

Visualization