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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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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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