Plotting Earth relief

Plotting a map of Earth relief can use the data accessed by the pygmt.datasets.load_earth_relief function. The data can then be plotted using the pygmt.Figure.grdimage method.

import pygmt

Load sample Earth relief data for the entire globe at a resolution of 1 arc-degree. The other available resolutions are shown at https://www.generic-mapping-tools.org/remote-datasets/earth-relief.html.

Create a plot

The pygmt.Figure.grdimage method takes the grid input to create a figure. It creates and applies a color palette to the figure based upon the z-values of the data. By default, it plots the map with the turbo CPT, an equidistant cylindrical projection, and with no frame.

earth relief

pygmt.Figure.grdimage can take the optional parameter projection for the map. In the example below, projection is set to "R12c" for a 12-centimeters-wide figure with a Winkel Tripel projection. For a list of available projections, see https://docs.generic-mapping-tools.org/6.5/reference/map-projections.html.

fig = pygmt.Figure()
fig.grdimage(grid=grid, projection="R12c")
fig.show()
earth relief

Set a color map

pygmt.Figure.grdimage takes the cmap parameter to set the CPT of the figure. Examples of common CPTs for Earth relief are shown below. A full list of CPTs can be found at https://docs.generic-mapping-tools.org/6.5/reference/cpts.html.

Using the geo CPT:

fig = pygmt.Figure()
fig.grdimage(grid=grid, projection="R12c", cmap="geo")
fig.show()
earth relief

Using the relief CPT:

fig = pygmt.Figure()
fig.grdimage(grid=grid, projection="R12c", cmap="relief")
fig.show()
earth relief

Add a color bar

The pygmt.Figure.colorbar method displays the CPT and the associated Z-values of the figure, and by default uses the same CPT set by the cmap parameter for pygmt.Figure.grdimage. The frame parameter for pygmt.Figure.colorbar can be used to set the axis intervals and labels. A list is used to pass multiple arguments to frame. In the example below, "a2500" sets the axis interval to 2,500, "x+lElevation" sets the x-axis label, and "y+lm" sets the y-axis label.

fig = pygmt.Figure()
fig.grdimage(grid=grid, projection="R12c", cmap="geo")
fig.colorbar(frame=["a2500", "x+lElevation", "y+lm"])
fig.show()
earth relief

Create a region map

In addition to providing global data, the region parameter for pygmt.datasets.load_earth_relief can be used to provide data for a specific area. The region parameter is required for resolutions at 5 arc-minutes or higher, and accepts a list (as in the example below) or a string. For the later, the geographic range is passed as “xmin/xmax/ymin/ymax”.

The example below uses data with a 10 arc-minutes resolution, and plots it on a 15-centimeters-wide figure with a Mercator projection and a CPT set to geo. frame="a" is used to add a frame with annotations to the figure.

grid = pygmt.datasets.load_earth_relief(resolution="10m", region=[-14, 30, 35, 60])
fig = pygmt.Figure()
fig.grdimage(grid=grid, projection="M15c", frame="a", cmap="geo")
fig.colorbar(frame=["a1000", "x+lElevation", "y+lm"])
fig.show()
earth relief

Total running time of the script: (0 minutes 1.252 seconds)

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