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 Dr. John Hall of the Geological Survey of Israel and his use of Surfer.

Dr. Hall is a marine geophysicist and doctoral graduate from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological (now Earth) Observatory. Upon the completion of his doctorate, he worked for the Geological Survey of Israel until his retirement at the end of 2005. His research includes global tectonics, offshore geophysical surveys, and compilations of detailed gridded topography for Israel and neighboring areas. Although Dr. Hall is retired, he continues to utilize Golden Software’s own contouring, gridding, and 3D surface mapping program, Surfer.

“I have used Surfer since the time that it worked on piddling little grids with maybe 100 by 100 nodes and a thousand data points,” recalls Dr. Hall. His first copy of Surfer was a DOS version which ran on IBM’s Personal Computer Advanced-Technology (PC-AT). During this time, Dr. Hall used an innovative technique on the first PC-AT to generate grids. This technique generated the 25 meter grid of Israel by coloring in the areas between 10 meter contours on the 1:50,000 topographical sheets as he was not permitted to digitize the contours.

Surfer Grid Map - Israel
This image is the result of 12,000 hours of heads-up digitizing
on PC-ATs between 1987 and 1992 as viewed in Surfer.

Surfer has come a long way since the DOS version and is now used by Dr. Hall to create Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) of the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the Caspian Sea. To create these DTMs, hundreds of thousands of digitized soundings are compiled and then gridded using Surfer’s kriging method. As is the case with most digitized soundings, errors, also known as artifacts, are prevalent; therefore Surfer is used to separate the artifacts from the DTMs for analysis. Combining the tools provided by Surfer and other mapping programs, Dr. Hall can generate impressive models.

Surfer Digital Terrain Model - Kriging Method
In 2010, Dr. Hall spent 44 days on the icebreaker, Healy, mapping
50,000 sq. km up to the North Pole to investigate new bathymetric features.
 

Dr. Hall’s recent projects are quite fascinating. Just last week, Dr. Hall kriged 46,000 digitized soundings and 10 meter contours for the Gulf of Suez to generate 50 meter UTM grids. The grids will be used by a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz to create seiche animations to potentially illustrate how the Israelites crossed the Red Sea ~3,300 years ago. Additionally, Dr. Hall contributed to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Cook Book for making grids of the world’s oceans and his chapter detailed his use of Surfer and the other software packages. He states Surfer “is the program of choice for interpolation of grids.”

We are pleased Dr. Hall has integrated Surfer into his workflow, and it is exciting to see his application of Surfer’s tools.

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