# A good divergent color palette for Matlab

#### INTRODUCTION

Before starting my series on perceptual color palettes I thought it was worth mentioning an excellent function I found some time ago on the Matlab File Exchange. The function is called Light and Bartlein Color Maps. It was a Matlab Pick of the week, and it can be used to create four color palettes discussed in the EOS paper by Light and Bartlein. Each of these palettes is suited for a specific task, and the authors claim they are non confusing for viewers with color vision deficiencies.

In the remainder of this post I will showcase one of the palettes, called orange-white-purple, as it is good divergent scheme [1]. With the code below I am going to load the World Topography Matlab demo data, create  the palette and use it to display the data.

```%% load World Topography Matlab demo

%% create Light Bartlein orange-white-purple diverging scheme
LB=flipud(lbmap(256,'BrownBlue')); % flip it so blue is for negative(ocean)
% and green for positive (land)

%% plot map
fig2 = figure;
imagesc(flipud(topo));
axis equal
axis tight
axis off
set(fig2,'Position',[720 400 980 580]);
title(' Non-symmetric divergent orange-white-purple palette','Color',...
'k','FontSize',12,'FontWeight','demi');
colormap(LB);
colorbar;```

And here is the result below. I like this color scheme better than many othera for divergent data. One only issue in the figure, although not inherently due to the palette itself [2], is that the centre of the palette is not at the zero. This is a problem since the zero is such an important element in ratio data, in this case representing sea level.

#### MAKING THE PALETTE SYMMETRIC AROUND THE ZERO

The problem fortunately can be easily fixed by clipping the data limit to a symmetric range. In Matlab this has to be done programmatically, and rather than going about it with trial and error I like to do it automatically with the code below: