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.
Feb
16

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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Recent Comments
Guest — Kari Dickenson
Hi Brian, If you map doesn't have a coordinate system assigned to it, then there will not be a Spatial References tab since there... Read More
Monday, 12 February 2018 15:45
Guest — Brian Boer
why does my export options dialog window not include a "spatial references" tab? Any other way to assign a .prj to an exported sha... Read More
Monday, 12 February 2018 15:36
Guest — SHAHEEN
Can we export the following from surfer to arc map with all spatial and project information : 1_ 3D Suface raster 2_ vector ma... Read More
Saturday, 03 September 2016 02:15
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Jan
28

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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Jan
25

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 2.12.3
Price1-3 licenses $849/license
4-10 licenses $805/license
11+ licenses $765/license
Free
Development ModelCommercialOpen source
Plug-ins
Free Resources
Website
Live technical support
Phones
Email
Live chat
Knowledge Base
Forums
User Groups
Documentation
In-program help
Training manual
Paid for Resources
Full PDF user guide
Live training
Provided by
Golden Software &
authorized resellers
Provided by 3rd party
contributors
Map Types
Base map
Contour map
Image map
Post map
Classed post map
Shaded relief map
Vector map (1-grid)
Vector map (2-grid)
Watershed map
Viewshed map
3D surface map
3D wireframe map
Pie chart thematic map
Histogram thematic map
Map Features
Axes
Profiles
Scale bar
Color scale
Coordinate systems
Import/edit/export attributes
Measure distance
Measure angles
Digitize XYZ points
Overlay maps
Stack maps
Log contours
Save/load contour levels
Edit contours
Inline contour labels
Map transparency
Gridding/Interpolation/Rasterizing
Inverse distance
Kriging
Minimum curvature
Modified Shepard's method
Natural neighbor
Nearest neighbor
Polynomial regression
Radial basis function
Triangulation with linear interpolation
Moving average
Data metrics
Local polynomial
Function grid
Variogram modeling
Grid date/time data
Grid reports with statistics
Faults
Breaklines
Anisotropy
TIN support
Grid Functions
Math
Calculus
Filter
Spline smooth
Blank/null
Convert
Extract
Transform
Mosaic
Volume
Slice
Residuals
Grid info
Grid node editor
Assign coordinate system
Regrid
Grid metadata
Grid transpose
3D File Viewer
Worksheet
Automation
Import/Export
Import options
33
22
Export options
27
28
Open grid
47
64
Save grid
24
64

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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Guest — P. Wallström
So the conclusion is that I should buy Surfer and download QGIS and I have them both? In my work I use Bentley Microstation, ARC, ... Read More
Thursday, 23 March 2017 01:04
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Jan
07

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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Jan
05

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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Recent Comments
Guest — Alberto Vargas
Excellent contribution. Very interesting article.
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 13:40
Guest — Eugene
Awesome will definitely try this
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 13:30
Guest — dan
very nice!
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 09:07
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