I'm trying to plot the ESA CCI land cover map using the palette that they define in their .csv download. I managed to import this palette into GEE by saving it as a shapefile with a dummy geometry (using R), which I'm hoping I've made publicly available here.

I'm testing it out by changing the palette in GEE's Image Visualization tutorial (for a different land cover dataset, but I'll stick with it for simplicity). So, first, I load the MODIS land cover:

// Load 2012 MODIS land cover and select the IGBP classification.
var cover = ee.Image('MODIS/051/MCD12Q1/2012_01_01')

Then I define my alternative palette:

// Load alternative colour palette
var cciPalette = 

// Remove '#' symbol and make lower case
var replace = function(name){
  return (ee.String(name).replace('#', '').toLowerCase());
var cciPalette2 = cciPalette.map(replace);

The console tells me that cciPalette2 is a list, and everything looks good. It looks just like the igbpPalette from the tutorial (a longer list because CCI have more land cover categories). But when I sub cciPalette2 in for igbpPalette:

Map.setCenter(-99.229, 40.413, 5);
             {min: 0, max: 17, palette: cciPalette2},
             'CCI classification');

I get the error:

CCI classification: Layer error: Image.visualize: Expected a string or list of strings for field 'palette'.

But cciPalette2 is a list of strings, no? What am I doing wrong? I'm a total GEE and javascript novice so I'm sure I'm missing something simple.

Full code here: https://code.earthengine.google.com/be1102eda2fb41584e9be3697f42b48e

1 Answer 1


To generate layer you need to have a palette on the client side that gets sent to GEE to generate the map. Since you are generating palette based on aggregating a property in a feature collection, the ccgiPalette2 is neither a string nor a list of strings but a computed object type instead. You can use the evaluate or getInfo function to address this.

var cciPalette2 = cciPalette.map(replace).getInfo();

Would be the simplest solution, and your script will work without further changes but since getInfo is deprecated i recommend using evaluate function instead which works by setting up a callback function.

  // Map again
  Map.setCenter(-99.229, 40.413, 5);
               {min: 0, max: 17, palette: cciPalette2},
               'CCI classification');

The good thing about evaluate is that it does not freeze the UI while the data is being fetched.


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