Golden Software Blog

Helping you learn more about the latest product information, tips, tricks, techniques, and customer stories so you can visualize data and communicate results with ease.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I grew up in the California Bay Area and received my B.S. degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz. During that time, I spent a year abroad living in Leeds, England. After graduation, I took a year off to work as an intern at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, learning more about hydrogeology and performing laboratory experiments and some basic computer modeling on groundwater remediation strategies. I continued with my education, graduating from the Colorado School of Mines with an M.S. in Geology, focusing on economic geology. My graduate project was delineating a copper-gold exploration target in Chile. During my graduate degree, I worked at the campus computing center. Supporting computer systems and programs was a new experience for me, and I found that I really enjoyed helping the students use computers and solve problems. I was excited when a position opened at Golden Software, allowing me to tie my knowledge of geology with my desire to solve problems and help users. I began working at Golden Software in 2000, and am currently the Surfer product manager. My family (including our cat, dog, hamster and fish) and I call Nevada our home and enjoy camping, biking, hiking and traveling.


Do You Want to Test the New Surfer Features?

We are extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of Surfer, the next version of our 2D and 3D mapping, modeling, and analysis program, but we need your help! We are searching for everyday candid users to test drive Surfer’s new features. This is a great opportunity to get a sneak peek into Surfer’s new features and functionality, to provide feedback on usability and have your voice heard, and to help to make these features exceptional.

If you are interested in participating in the beta testing process, please complete this brief survey:

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Understanding Coordinate Systems in Surfer

A topic in which we receive many customer inquiries is coordinate systems. I recently reviewed the individual questions as they pertain to Surfer, and many users are confused about where to change the coordinate system information, what to set it to, or what order to perform the steps. To shed some light on this very important component of map making, this blog will address these questions.

I recently had a question where a user needed to convert the XY coordinates of the map from lat/lon (degrees) into meters, so that they could add a profile to the map showing meters as the Distance units instead of degrees. 

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Create Aspect-Slope Maps in Seconds Using Surfer

My last blog article described how to create a slope map from a digital elevation model in Surfer. Moving forward on that topic, I found this blog article written for ArcMap on creating aspect-slope maps, which was improved upon for QGIS. This single map combines both the compass direction of slopes (aspect) and the steepness of the slopes (in degrees) and uses both color and saturation to display the combined results. Slopes facing different directions use different colors, and the brightness of that color shows the steepness of that slope (the brighter the color, the steeper the slope). I thought this was a really interesting map type and it made me wonder how this could be done in Surfer.

Coincidentally, at that time, a user asked me this exact question! The user wanted to come up with a way to see the very small slope variations in the soft sediments they have on the surface, using both aspect and slope. Looking at the slopes and aspect together may reveal small variations that otherwise could be overlooked.

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Creating Terrain Slope Maps from Digital Elevation Models in Surfer

Creating a map of slopes is common practice when looking at slope stability. Some examples of when you may want to create slope maps would be to identify areas with high slope to indicate avalanche or landslide danger. Another example may be to present slope maps of the seabed so that a structure with set tolerances for inclination could be located. Slope and gradient maps can be easily generated using Surfer.

Slope information can be easily computed from grid, raster or digital elevation models (DEMs) using options under the Grid | Calculus menu command in Surfer. The slope values can be expressed either in degrees or as a decimal (rise/run) which can then be computed as a percentage. For example, using Grid | Calculus you could select:

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Gridding and Contouring Airborne Geophysical Survey Data

Golden Software recently hosted a training class on gridding and interpolating data in Surfer. Before the class was held, a user asked if we’d specifically cover the best options for gridding airborne geophysical data. At the time, it was not in the schedule, but as I looked at the data I thought this type of data could be very common and would make a great example. In this type of data, the data is taken in lines, where the data points along the lines are much closer together than the spacing between the lines.  Users generally want to interpolate the data to create a smooth color-filled image map while maintaining the data at sufficient resolution to show important anomalies.

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Recent Comments
Kari Dickenson
You are correct that one degree of latitude is not the same as one degree of longitude. As you say, you could do the conversion ... Read More
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 10:22
Jennifer Woodson
Thanks for commenting, Pascual! You're absolutely correct that degrees of latitude and longitude are not equal, and Surfer does no... Read More
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 08:44
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