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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.

Across the Nation there are more than 159 WSR-88 Doppler radar installations. From each site, on an approximate six (6) minute interval, digital pixel data is archived at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). This data is titled Level II NEXRAD.

The evolution of the data presentation begins with the use of the NCDC's “Weather Toolkit” software. The archived Level II data is layered on GOOGLE EARTH's terrain and street views. The radar data has a 1/2° x 250 m resolution. Precise latitude and longitude boundary points are determined and are used as grid point values in Surfer mapping software. Of paramount importance is to determine an exact pixel location utilizing the “digitize” feature of Surfer. The process continues, now with the pixel values, and the features of the hydrologists GETNEXRAD software. For the selected time period, an EXCEL output file is developed with rainfall values (dBz), incremental rainfall amounts (inches) and total amounts for each point and for each time increment.

Armed with the complete data set, the many features of Surfer mapping data software easily produce precise and informative surface and 3-D numeric and contoured color plots. These have been well received as exact and vivid presentations by both attorneys and engineers in a variety of fields.

For more information, John can be reached at or at his web site:

"Surfer has proved invaluable in my application of meteorology. My application was to
reconstruct heavy rainfall amounts in certain areas that resulted in flood problems. The plots
I put together have been well received by attorneys. To that end I put together a collage
of a few plots which illustrates what can be done."

John McMurray, President of Commercial Weather Services, Inc.


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Tuesday, 21 March 2023

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