Map making in Matlab

Greetings,

This weeks post will cover the basics of generating maps in Matlab.  Julie’s recent post showed how to do some of this in Python, but, Matlab is also widely used by the community.  You can get a lot done with Matlab, but in this post we’ll just cover a few of the basics.

We’ll start off by plotting a map of the continental United States, with the states.  We used three  this with three commands: usamap, shaperead, and geoshow.  usamap creates an empty map axes having the Lambert Projection covering the area of the US, or any state or collection of states.  shaperead reads shapefiles (duh) and returns a Matlab geographic data structure, composed of both geographic data and attributes.  This Matlab data structure then interfaces really well with various Matlab functions (duh).  Finally, geoshow plots geographic data, in our case on the map axes we defined.  Here’s some code putting it all together.

```hold on
figure1 = figure;
ax = usamap('conus');

set(ax, 'Visible', 'off')
latlim = getm(ax, 'MapLatLimit');
lonlim = getm(ax, 'MapLonLimit');
'UseGeoCoords', true, 'BoundingBox', [lonlim', latlim']);
geoshow(ax, states, 'FaceColor', [0.5 0.5 0.5])
tightmap
hold off
```

Note that ‘usastatehi’ is a shapefile containing the US states (duh) that’s distributed with Matlab. The above code generates this figure:

Now, suppose we wanted to plot some data, say a precipitation forecast, on our CONUS map.  Let’s assume our forecast is being made at many points (lat,long).  To interpolate between the points for plotting we’ll use Matlab’s griddata function.  Once we’ve done this, we use the Matlab’s contourm command.  This works exactly like the normal contour function, but the ‘m’ indicates it plots map data.

```xi = min(x):0.5:max(x);
yi = min(y):0.5:max(y);
[XI, YI] = meshgrid(xi,yi);
ZI = griddata(x,y,V,XI,YI);

hold on
figure2 = figure;
ax = usamap('conus');

set(ax, 'Visible', 'off')
latlim = getm(ax, 'MapLatLimit');
lonlim = getm(ax, 'MapLonLimit');
'UseGeoCoords', true, 'BoundingBox', [lonlim', latlim']);
geoshow(ax, states, 'FaceColor', [0.5 0.5 0.5])

contourm(YI,-1*XI,ZI)
tightmap
hold off
```

Here x, y, and V are vectors of long, lat, and foretasted precipitation respectively.  This code generates the following figure:

Wow!  Louisiana is really getting hammered!  Let’s take a closer look.  We can do this by changing the entry to usamap to indicate we want to consider only Louisiana.  Note, usamap accepts US postal code abbreviations.

```ax = usamap('LA');
```

Making that change results in this figure:

Neat!  We can also look at two states and add annotations.  Suppose, for no reason in particular, you’re interested in the location of Tufts University relative to Cornell.  We can make a map to look at this with the textm and scatterm functions.  As before, the ‘m’ indicates the functions  plot on a map axes.

```hold on
figure4 = figure;
ax = usamap({'MA','NY'});

set(ax, 'Visible', 'off')
latlim = getm(ax, 'MapLatLimit');
lonlim = getm(ax, 'MapLonLimit');
'UseGeoCoords', true, 'BoundingBox', [lonlim', latlim']);
geoshow(ax, states, 'FaceColor', [0.5 0.5 0.5])
scatterm(42.4075,-71.1190,100,'k','filled')
textm(42.4075+0.2,-71.1190+0.2,'Tufts','FontSize',30)

scatterm(42.4491,-76.4842,100,'k','filled')
textm(42.4491+0.2,-76.4842+0.2,'Cornell','FontSize',30)
tightmap
hold off
```

This code generates the following figure.

Cool! Now back to forecasts.  NOAA distributes short term Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPFs) for different durations every six hours.  You can download these forecasts in the form of shapefiles from a NOAA server.  Here’s an example of a 24-hour rainfall forecast made at 8:22 AM UTC on April 29.

Wow, that’s a lot of rain!  Can we plot our own version of this map using Matlab!  You bet!  Again we’ll use usamap, shaperead, and geoshow.  The for loop, (0,1) scaling, and log transform are simply to make the color map more visually appealing for the post.  There’s probably a cleaner way to do this, but this got the job done!

```figure5 = figure;
ax = usamap('conus');

set(ax, 'Visible', 'off')
latlim = getm(ax, 'MapLatLimit');
lonlim = getm(ax, 'MapLonLimit');
'UseGeoCoords', true, 'BoundingBox', [lonlim', latlim']);
geoshow(ax, states, 'FaceColor', [0.5 0.5 0.5])
p = colormap(jet);

N = max(size(S));
d = zeros(N,1);
for i = 1:N
d(i) = log(S(i).QPF);
end

y=floor(((d-min(d))/range(d))*63)+1;
col = p(y,:);
for i = 1:N
geoshow(S(i),'FaceColor',col(i,:),'FaceAlpha',0.5)%,'SymbolSpec', faceColors)
end
```

This code generates the following figure:

If you are not plotting in the US, Matlab also has a worldmap command.  This works exactly the same as usamap, but now for the world (duh).  Matlab is distibuted with a shapefile ‘landareas.shp’ which contains all of the land areas in the world (duh).  Generating a global map is then trivial:

```figure6 = figure;

worldmap('World')
geoshow(land, 'FaceColor', [0.15 0.5 0.15])
```

Which generates this figure.

Matlab also comes with a number of other included that might be of interest.  For instance, shapefiles detailing the locations of major world cities, lakes, and rivers.  We can plot those with the following code:

```figure7 = figure;

worldmap('World')
geoshow(land, 'FaceColor', [0.15 0.5 0.15])
geoshow(lakes, 'FaceColor', 'blue')
geoshow(rivers, 'Color', 'blue')
geoshow(cities, 'Marker', '.', 'Color', 'red')
```

Which generates the figure:

But suppose we’re interested in one country or a group of countries.  worldmap works in the same usamap does.  Also, you can plot continents, for instance Europe.

```worldmap('Europe')
```

Those are the basics, but there are many other capabilities, including 3-D projections. I can cover this in a later post if there is interest.

That’s it for now!

Making Watershed Maps in Python

This post builds off of earlier posts by Jon Lamontagne and Jon Herman on making global maps in Python using matplotlib and basemap. However rather than making a global map, I’ll show how to zoom into a particular region, here the Red River basin in East Asia. To make these maps, you’ll need to have basemap installed (from github here, or using a Windows installer here).

The first step is to create a basemap. Both Jons used the ‘robin’ global projection to do this in their posts. Since I’m only interested in a particular region, I just specify the bounding box using the lower and upper latitudes and longitudes of the region I’d like to plot. As Jon H points out, you can also specify the resolution (‘f’ = full, ‘h’ =high, ‘i’ = intermediate, ‘l’ = low, ‘c’ = crude), and you can even use different ArcGIS images for the background (see here). I use ‘World_Shaded_Relief’. It’s also possible to add a lot of features such as rivers, countries, coastlines, counties, etc. I plot countries and rivers. The argument ‘zorder’ specifies the order of the layering from 1 to n, where 1 is the bottom layer and n the top.

```
from mpl_toolkits.basemap import Basemap
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

fig = plt.figure()
fig.set_size_inches([17.05,8.15])

# plot basemap, rivers and countries
m = basemap(llcrnrlat=19.5, urcrnrlat=26.0, llcrnrlon=99.6, urcrnr=107.5, resolution='h')
m.drawrivers(color='dodgerblue',linewidth=1.0,zorder=1)
m.drawcountries(color='k',linewidth=1.25)

```

The above code makes the following image (it takes some time, since I’m using high resolution):

Now let’s add a shaded outline of the Red River basin. To do this, you need a shapefile of the basin. The FAO provides a shapefile of major watersheds in the world, from which you can extract the watershed you’re interested in using ArcGIS (see instructions here). In this shapefile, the Red River is labeled by its name in Vietnamese, ‘Song Hong.’ I chose not to draw the bounds of the basin in my map because it would be too busy with the country borders. Instead, I shaded the region gray (facecolor=’0.33′) with a slightly darker border (edgecolor=’0.5′) and slight transparency (alpha=0.5). To do that, I had to collect all of the patches associated with the shapefile (which I called ‘Basin’ when reading it in) that needed to be shaded.

```
from matplotlib.patches import Polygon
from matplotlib.collections import Patch Collection

# plot Red River basin
patches = []
for info, shape in zip(m.Basin_info, m.Basin):
if info['OBJECTID'] == 1: # attribute in attribute table of shapefile
patches.append(Polygon(np.array(shape), True))

```

This creates the following image:

Now let’s add the locations of major dams and cities in the basin using ‘scatter‘. You could again do this by adding a shapefile, but I’m just going to add their locations manually, either by uploading their latitude and longitude coordinates from a .csv file or by passing them directly.

```
import numpy as np

# plot dams
damsLatLong = np.loadtxt('DamLocations.csv', delimiter=',', skiprows=1, usecols=[1,2])
x, y = m(damsLatLong[:,1], damLatLong[:,0]) # m(longitude, latitude)
m.scatter(x, y, c='k', s = 150, marker = '^')

# plot Hanoi
x, y = m(105.8342, 21.0278)
m.scatter(x, y, facecolor='darkred', edgecolor='darkred', s=150)

```

This makes the following image:

If we want to label the dams and cities, we can add text specifying where on the map we’d like them to be located. This may require some guess-and-check work to determine the best place (comment if you know a better way!). I temporarily added gridlines to the map to aid in this process using ‘drawparallels‘ and ‘drawmeridians‘.

```
# label dams and Hanoi
plt.text(104.8, 21.0, 'Hoa Binh', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(104.0, 21.7, 'Son La', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(105.0, 21.95, 'Thac Ba', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(105.4, 22.55, 'Tuyen Quang', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(105.8, 21.2, 'Hanoi', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')

```

Now our map looks like this:

That looks nice, but it would be helpful to add some context as to where in the world the Red River basin is located. To illustrate this, we can create an inset of the greater geographical area by adding another set of axes with its own basemap. This one can be at a lower resolution.

```
from mpl_toolkits.axes_grid1.inset_locator import zoomed_inset_axes

# plot inset of greater geographic area
axins = zoomed_inset_axes(ax, 0.1, loc=1) # locations
axins.set_xlim(90, 115) # longitude boundaries of inset map
axins.set_ylim(8, 28) # latitude boundaries of inset map

# remove tick marks from inset axes
plt.xticks(visible=False)
plt.yticks(visible=False)

# add basemap to inset map
m2 = Basemap(llcrnrlat=8.0, urcrnclat=28.0, llcrnr=90.0, urcrnrlon=115.0, resolution='l', ax=axins)
m2.drawcountries(color='k', linewidth=0.5)

```

This image looks like this:

Now let’s highlight a country of interest (Vietnam) in green and also add the Red River basin in light gray again.

```
# plot Vietnam green in inset
patches2 = []
for info, shape in zip(m2.Vietnam_info, m2.Vietnam):
if info['Joiner'] == 1:
patches2.append(Polygon(np.array(shape), True))

# shade Red River basin gray in inset

```

Now our map looks like this:

Finally, let’s label the countries in the inset. Some of the countries are too small to fit their name inside, so we’ll have to create arrows pointing to them using ‘annotate‘. In this function, ‘xy’ specifies where the arrow points to and ‘xytext’ where the text is written relative to where the arrow points.

```
# label countries
plt.text(107.5, 25.5, 'China', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(102.5, 20.2, 'China', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(101.9, 15.5, 'China', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(9.5, 21.0, 'China', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')

# add arrows to label Vietnam and Cambodia
plt.annotate('Vietnam', xy=(108.0, 14.0), xycoords='data', xytext=(5.0, 20.0), textcoords='offset points', \
color='k', arrowprops=dict(arrowstyle='-'), fontsize=11)
plt.annotate('Cambodia', xy=(104.5, 12.0), xycoords='data', xytext=(-60.0, -25.0), textcoords='offset points', \
color='k', arrowprops=dict(arrowstyle='-'), fontsize=11)

```

Now our map looks like this:

I think that’s pretty good, so let’s save it ;). See below for all the code used to make this map, with all the import statements at the beginning rather than sporadically inserted throughout the code!

If you’re looking for any other tips on how to make different types of maps using basemap, I recommend browsing through the basemap toolkit documentation and this basemap tutorial, where I learned how to do most of what I showed here.

```
from mpl_toolkits.basemap import Basemap
from mpl_toolkits.axes_grid1.inset_locator import zoomed_inset_axes
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt
from matplotlib.patches import Polygon
from matplotlib.collections import PatchCollection
import numpy as np

# set-up Vietnam basemap
fig = plt.figure()
fig.set_size_inches([17.05, 8.15])

# plot basemap, rivers and countries
m = Basemap(llcrnrlat=19.5,urcrnrlat=26.0,llcrnrlon=99.6,urcrnrlon=107.5,resolution='h')
m.drawrivers(color='dodgerblue',linewidth=1.0,zorder=1)
m.drawcountries(color='k',linewidth=1.25)

# plot Red River basin
patches = []
for info, shape in zip(m.Basin_info, m.Basin):
if info['OBJECTID'] == 1:
patches.append(Polygon(np.array(shape), True))

# plot dams
x, y = m(damsLatLong[:,1], damsLatLong[:,0])
m.scatter(x, y, c='k', s=150, marker='^')

# plot Hanoi
x, y = m(105.8342, 21.0278)
m.scatter(x, y, facecolor='darkred', edgecolor='darkred', s=150)

# label reservoirs and Hanoi
plt.text(104.8, 21.0, 'Hoa Binh', fontsize=18, ha='center',va='center',color='k')
plt.text(104.0, 21.7, 'Son La', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(105.0, 21.95, 'Thac Ba', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(105.4, 22.55, 'Tuyen Quang', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(105.8, 21.2, 'Hanoi', fontsize=18, ha='center', va='center', color='k')

# plot inset of greater geographic area
axins = zoomed_inset_axes(ax, 0.1, loc=1)
axins.set_xlim(90, 115)
axins.set_ylim(8,28)

plt.xticks(visible=False)
plt.yticks(visible=False)

m2 = Basemap(llcrnrlat=8.0,urcrnrlat=28.0,llcrnrlon=90.0,urcrnrlon=115.0,resolution='l',ax=axins)
m2.drawcountries(color='k',linewidth=0.5)

# plot Vietnam green in inset
patches2 = []
for info, shape in zip(m2.Vietnam_info, m2.Vietnam):
if info['Joiner'] == 1:
patches2.append(Polygon(np.array(shape), True))

# shade Red River basin gray in inset

# label countries
plt.text(107.5, 25.5, 'China', fontsize=11, ha='center',va='center',color='k')
plt.text(102.5, 20.2, 'Laos', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(101.9, 15.5, 'Thailand', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')
plt.text(96.5, 21.0, 'Myanmar', fontsize=11, ha='center', va='center', color='k')

plt.annotate('Vietnam', xy=(108.0,14.0), xycoords='data', xytext=(5.0,20.0), textcoords='offset points', \
color='k',arrowprops=dict(arrowstyle='-'),fontsize=11)
plt.annotate('Cambodia', xy=(104.5,12.0), xycoords='data', xytext=(-60.0,-25.0), textcoords='offset points', \
color='k',arrowprops=dict(arrowstyle='-'),fontsize=11)

fig.savefig('RedRiverMap.png')
fig.clf()

```