Styling elevation models in QGIS – Blue scale 🔷

3 min read

#30DayMapChallenge Day 8. Blue

Blue scale 🔷


In this post, I’ll talk a bit about styling elevation models in QGIS, giving as an example one of the maps I have made for the #30DayMapChallenge on Twitter in 2021. You can find out more about the challenge and my other maps in this post.

Goal: A map with blue colour or a map about something blue.





Nice blue color scale. A section of Glen Canyon (Utah and Arizona), and a zone in North Canada.

Data: USGS Glen Canyon, Canada Open Maps

Tags: #QGIS


Styling elevation models in QGIS – making of

styling elevation models in QGIS

Challenges: Rendering a 900Mb elevation model, taken from USGS.

Source: Root, J.C., Hynek, S.A., DiViesti, D.N., and Gushue, T.M., 2019, Digital Elevation Model of Glen Canyon Prior to the Flooding of Lake Powell from Historic Topographic Surveys, Utah and Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

The data is a 2m resolution, pre-dam elevation model of Glen Canyon. It was more appropriate and easier to render only a section of the canyon, because the file was too big and I wanted to show only some details, anyway.

I have used QGIS to symbolize the raster data, and when choosing the colors I was influenced by a gorgeous image of the north-western Africa, from the Copernicus Open Access Hub (you can see it here if you are logged in).

Symbology->Band Rendering->Singleband pseudocolor->Band 1 (Gray)->Interpolation: Linear->Mode: Continuous-<Classes: 9
# QGIS Generated Color Map Export File

There was another map I have made, rendering a portion of a river system from Canada, too, but I don’t know exactly where it was located anymore.. 🙂

There is a rich collection of High Resolution Digital Elevation Models (HRDEM) – CanElevation Series at Canada OpenMaps, I must explore it more when I’ll have the time.

TODO: create tiles and show details by zoom level, fix pan.

To conclude, I think that this project aimed more to create an aestetically pleasing peace of work than a practical one, and I love the contrast created by the colors in this palette, so I will probably use it quite often in my future projects.

I also found new data sources for high resolution elevation models, useful resources on which I could perform interesting GIS analysis.

That being said, this was the making of for Blue scale 🔷

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