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.

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:

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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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Use Voxler’s Worksheet Window to Quality Control Data

Data is the foundation of a successful modeling project. We all have had an experience where high quality, mistake-free data was not available for a project and lesser quality, problematic data was the only thing available. These problematic datasets can contain a variety of issues not limited to missing data values, missing labels, incorrect data values, and outliers; all of which can cause inaccurate projects. With the release of a the latest version of Voxler 3D Visualization mapping software this past fall, the new worksheet window allows real-time editing of your imported data; Now you can leverage Voxler as a valuable data quality control tool for correcting problematic 3D point cloud data and well data. This blog will detail how to effectively QC (quality control) the problematic data issues directly within Voxler's mapping software using the new worksheet window.

QC missing data values:

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Customer Spotlight: Dr. John Hall Uses Surfer For Geological Purposes

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.

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Jennifer Woodson
Hi Chuck, Thanks for your comment! Please contact me at if you have work you would like to share! We'... Read More
Thursday, 31 December 2015 13:13
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Welcome to the Sondermülldeponie Kölliken (SMDK); the Kölliken Hazardous Waste Landfill

Rainer Albert is an experienced Surfer user and recently discovered the versatility of Voxler. Below outlines his contribution to the modeling of the Kölliken hazardous waste landfill using 3D visualizations from both Surfer and Voxler.

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The Sunniest Areas in the U.S. Identified With MapViewer

The Sunniest Areas in the U.S. Identified With MapViewer

As December ushers in snowy days and fewer daylight hours, I find I am grateful for every minute of sunshine I can get.  Even ten minutes outside in the sun can renew my energy for the remainder of the day.  I grew up in the Midwest where winters often consist of many grey snowy days and very few opportunities to enjoy the sun.  As a result, I find winters in Colorado much brighter and happier.

As the days got shorter and shorter before the winter solstice, I found myself wondering which areas in the U.S. receive the most sunshine each year.  I found some historical sunshine and cloud data online consisting of the total hours of sunshine each month at over 250 monitoring locations in the U.S collected between 1908 and 1992.   I used this data to calculate the average number of sunny days per year at each location and then plotted the results as a gradient map in MapViewer 8 GIS software.

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