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.

Exporting Maps from Surfer Mapping Software into ArcMap

Over the years, one of the most common questions asked is “How can I get my contour map out of Surfer mapping software and into ArcMap?” It's actually quite easy to get maps from Surfer into ArcMap. You can just click File | Export from Surfer and export to a shapefile (*.SHP). There are other formats you can choose (e.g. DXF, MIF, GeoTIFF, etc.) but I will focus on SHP for this article.

You might ask, “What about attributes?” When exporting to a SHP file in Surfer 13, the Z value of the contour lines are exported as attributes to the associated DBF file. In addition, if you have objects in a base layer that have attributes, those attributes are exported to the SHP file as well. All attributes are stored in the associated DBF file for the SHP.

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Jennifer Woodson
Hi Shaheen, You can export any map to an image format or PDF. In the Export Options dialog, on the Spatial References page, just ... Read More
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 15:37
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Surfer Mapping Software Assists the Sporting Community

The dreaded dead spot. Tormenting professional and recreational players alike, the dead spot can quickly wreak havoc on any indoor gymnasium event whether it is basketball, red rover, or a track event. When dribbled on a smooth surface, a ball typically bounces back quite easily; however, when the ball happens upon a dead spot, the bounce back is either greatly reduced or even changes direction. Dead spots are also noticeable when running across the floor, and the supposedly solid surface is not so solid underfoot. Injuries have been caused by these flooring distortions. Thankfully, the individuals at Mathusek Incorporated, a sports and commercial flooring contractor, have found a way to eliminate these dead spots in their floor installations by utilizing Surfer.

A sports floor is only as good as the concrete slab it rests on. One of the leading causes of a dead spot is the flatness, or lack thereof, of the slab. Prior to installing a gym floor, Mathusek offers a concrete slab assessment. Specifications require the slab tolerance to be no more and no less than 1/8 of an inch in a 10-foot radius. To verify the level, Mathusek establishes a benchmark in the middle of the floor. Readings are then taken every five feet and recorded. Each point is compared to the center benchmark to verify it is within the 1/8” requirement.

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Comparing Surfer and QGIS

Quite often people will ask, “What are the differences between Surfer and QGIS?” Below is a comparison of the main features and functionality of each program. Surfer, as you may know, provides 2D and 3D contouring complete with surface mapping software. QGIS has an assortment of plugins, and we haven’t been able to review them all. I encourage you review and let me know if there is any missing information. As new information comes in, I’ll be sure to update the matrix below.

 Surfer version 13QGIS version 2.12.3Price1-3 licenses $849/license4-10 licenses $805/license11+ licenses $765/licenseFreeDevelopment ModelCommercialOpen sourcePlug-insFree ResourcesWebsiteLive technical supportPhonesEmailLive chatKnowledge BaseForumsUser GroupsDocumentationIn-program helpTraining manualPaid for ResourcesFull PDF user guideLive trainingProvided by Golden Software & authorized resellersProvided by 3rd party contributorsMap TypesBase mapContour mapImage mapPost mapClassed post mapShaded relief mapVector map (1-grid)Vector map (2-grid)Watershed mapViewshed map3D surface map3D wireframe mapPie chart thematic mapHistogram thematic mapMap FeaturesAxesProfilesScale barColor scaleCoordinate systemsImport/edit/export attributesMeasure distanceMeasure anglesDigitize XYZ pointsOverlay mapsStack mapsLog contoursSave/load contour levelsEdit contoursInline contour labelsMap transparencyGridding/Interpolation/RasterizingInverse distanceKrigingMinimum curvatureModified Shepard's methodNatural neighborNearest neighborPolynomial regressionRadial basis functionTriangulation with linear interpolationMoving averageData metricsLocal polynomialFunction gridVariogram modelingGrid date/time dataGrid reports with statisticsFaultsBreaklinesAnisotropyTIN supportGrid FunctionsMathCalculusFilterSpline smoothBlank/nullConvertExtractTransformMosaicVolumeSliceResidualsGrid infoGrid node editorAssign coordinate systemRegridGrid metadataGrid transpose3D File ViewerWorksheetAutomationImport/ExportImport options3322Export options2728Open grid4764Save grid2464

Beyond the actual functionality, another difference between Surfer and QGIS is the development models. Surfer is a commercially developed program whereas QGIS is open source and is developed by a community of contributors. While it’s difficult to quantify, I believe it’s worth mentioning the pros and cons, according to me, associated with our commercial software model and QGIS’s open source model.

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Customer Spotlight: John McMurray Uses Surfer For Meterology & Hydrology

Golden Software customers possess a broad assortment of backgrounds from earth sciences and engineering to education and politics. This vast background results in a variety of uses for Golden Software’s products. Each customer uses the software in a unique way, and we are pleased to share these stories. This blog features John McMurray, President of Commercial Weather Services, Inc., and his use of SURFER in the application of meteorology and hydrology.

In the arena of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), an application of Meteorology and Hydrology has been bridged. With more than 30 years experience each; meteorologist John McMurray and hydrologists Rod Carson have developed detailed spatial resolution of Doppler radar data. John McMurray, President of Commercial Weather Services, Inc. (CWS) has used Golden Software's programs, PLOTCALL and GRAPHER, as far back as the mid 90's in the development of Wind Roses. A 1964 graduate from the NY State Maritime College, Fort Schuyler, BS Meteorology, John spent the next five years in the US Air Force. Separating as a Captain, the next venture was as a Broadcast Television meteorologist and as a private consultant to date.

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Variations in Hillshading: Creating Tanaka-style Illuminated Contour Maps

There many methods for displaying contour lines in visualization and GIS software programs. In most cases, representing terrain data with standard contours or hillshading techniques are sufficient. In other cases, you may want a more artistic technique to help emphasize specific features in the data or to make the map more pleasing to the eye. One of these techniques is using the Tanaka method for creating illuminated contours. I recently read an article about how to create illuminated contours in ArcGIS and couldn’t resist trying to replicate the results in Surfer's mapping software.

The Tanaka method applies a northwest light source to a contour map. The contour lines then change in color and width based on their relationship to the light source. Contour lines facing the light source are drawn in white while those in the shadow are drawn in black. The contour lines facing the light source (or facing away from it) are thicker, and the contour lines in the orthogonal direction are thinner. A more detailed explanation of the method can be found online at: http://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/pdf/gis_illum.pdf

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Jennifer Woodson
Let us know how it goes, Eugene. We'd love to see your finished product! Jennifer Woodson Technical Support... Read More
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 13:36
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