Betere Dingen

| 25-01-2010 16:58No Jet

The Jet colormap is the default in Matlab, and while it looks colourfull and can hence probably sell expensive products like Matlab, it also distorts data.

  • First, it creates an artificial 'band' of yellow that will only by accident have any meaning in the data.
  • Second, there are some 'edges' between other colours, such as between blue and cyan, even when there is supposed to be a smooth transistion between values.
  • Third, just near the extreme low (dark blue) there is a small part of the colourmap that seem slightly brighter than the values that are supposedly higher (farther away from the low end). If you wouldn't know better this could look like a small local peak in the data.
  • Fourth, if the plot is reduced to it's luminance, either because someone prints your paper on a black and white printer (I estimate 99% of students will do this and lots of people who do not want to waste money or the environment), or if your reader is colourblind, jet no longer has any meaning, since the two extremes now have the same 'colour'. Unfortunately, the edges and bands are still there.

I've illustrated this in the graph here (click for large version):

If you value the truth: do not use jet.

Other colourmaps also have their problems, but if you like your data, or want to tell the truth; please do not use jet.

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