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I have an elevation model plotted in R

r <- raster("example.dem")
plot(r, col = topo.colors(20))

Elevation plot

Some of the values are below sea level (0), and I'd like to have those display in red. How can I assign specific ranges to specific colours in the plot()?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

Here is a really simple example

volcanoR <- raster(volcano)

#making colors below 100 red and above 180 blue in this example

breakpoints <- c(94,100,120,140,160,180,195)
colors <- c("red","white","white","white","white","blue")

enter image description here

You just need to pass the plot a vector of break points and a vector of colors to match the breakpoints. Check out the RColorbrewer package for some very nice built in color ramps. Also check out the classInt package for making the breakpoints.

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Excellent- embarrassing how long I fiddled with this. Is there a straightforward way to import colour ramps from colour brewer? EDIT: sorry, I now see you're referring to a package, not the site! – Simbamangu Nov 29 '11 at 13:25
@Simbamangu, We have all been there. I actually find many of the examples of doing this obfuscate what is actually being passed as breakpoints and colors by using objects created from other packages (like the ones I suggest). I think it is simplest to see it like this, and then go on to use the other packages to create appropriate breakpoints and color ramps without doing so much work. – Andy W Nov 29 '11 at 13:28
I completely agree with that - the examples in many of the R packages are really tough to figure out, with too much carried through from other objects! – Simbamangu Nov 30 '11 at 6:39

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