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.
Font size: +

Georeference an Image in Surfer

There are many ways to customize and enhance maps. One popular enhancement is including images such as satellite imagery, aerial photographs, or historical maps. Images provide additional information and context for the map. In order to spatially relate the image with the other geographic data sources in a map, the image must be georeferenced.

Georeferencing an image is the process of assigning real-world coordinates to each pixel of the image. The latest release of Surfer can georeference images using three or more control points. Below I will step you through some of the main georeferencing features, but for more detailed instructions on how to georeferenced an image of your own, check out our knowledge base article, How can I georeferenced (assign coordinates to) an image base map in Surfer?

When georeferencing an image, the Georeference Image window pops up as a separate window from the Surfer application. This allows you to transition from one window to the next as you verify your georeference settings are correct.

The georeference image window allows you to easily work with all aspects of your map in Surfer.

Within the Georeference Image window, you can easily navigate the image. Zoom in/out with the mouse wheel or zoom to a selected area, quickly pan the image, or adjust the view to fit the entire image in the view pane. View help text and the warp method, if one is applied, along with the pixel, geographic, and projected coordinate location of the cursor in the status bar.

The navigation tools make it easy to select, add, or delete control points. Control points match points on the image to corresponding points in real-world coordinates. Once a control point is selected, the control point table lets you view and edit the source and target coordinates.

Should you need to specify a warp methods, Surfer provides 10 options. When selecting a warp method, you’ll notice a number preceding the warp method. This number corresponds to the minimum required control points for that specific warp method.

Easily assign and edit control points to georeference the image.

Should you need to specify a warp methods, Surfer provides 10 options. When selecting a warp method, you’ll notice a number preceding the warp method. This number corresponds to the minimum required control points for that specific warp method.

  • Affine Polynomial
  • First Order Polynomial
  • Second Order Polynomial
  • Third Order Polynomial
  • Thin Plate Spline
  • Natural Cubic Spline
  • Marcov Spline
  • Exponential Spline
  • Rational Quadratic Spline
  • Inverse Distance Squared

Finally, update the map with your image that now has real-world coordinates.

Georeference your own images with the free, two week Surfer trial.

 

Comments 6

Guest
Guest - Jose on Thursday, 16 June 2022 13:41

Hi, everytime I try to georeference something from Google Earth the result comes out shorter in height and broader afterwards ie too wide in the x axis relative to the y, so not to true scale XY(I know how to make it bigger). I've tried it several times with different areas and can't work out what the problem is. Is there an obvious I am missing? Thanks

Hi, everytime I try to georeference something from Google Earth the result comes out shorter in height and broader afterwards ie too wide in the x axis relative to the y, so not to true scale XY(I know how to make it bigger). I've tried it several times with different areas and can't work out what the problem is. Is there an obvious I am missing? Thanks
Guest
Guest - Jake Stachewicz on Monday, 20 June 2022 12:37

Hi Jose,

When maps are displayed based on latitude and longitude coordinates extending over a large region, the map might appear somewhat distorted (stretched in one direction). This occurs because one degree of latitude is not equivalent to one degree of longitude.

You can reference the article here: https://support.goldensoftware.com/hc/en-us/articles/226661488-Scale-Lat-Lon-maps-correctly-in-Surfer?source=search for a workflow on how to resolve this. If that workflow does not resolve the issue feel free to reach out to us at support@goldensoftware.com with your SRF file and we can further investigate for you.

Best,
Jake Stachewicz
Customer Support

Hi Jose, When maps are displayed based on latitude and longitude coordinates extending over a large region, the map might appear somewhat distorted (stretched in one direction). This occurs because one degree of latitude is not equivalent to one degree of longitude. You can reference the article here: https://support.goldensoftware.com/hc/en-us/articles/226661488-Scale-Lat-Lon-maps-correctly-in-Surfer?source=search for a workflow on how to resolve this. If that workflow does not resolve the issue feel free to reach out to us at support@goldensoftware.com with your SRF file and we can further investigate for you. Best, Jake Stachewicz Customer Support
Guest
Guest - jose on Wednesday, 22 June 2022 07:12

Hi Jake,
I realise now where I had went wrong. I was calculating the cosine in Excel hadn't realised that it calculates it in radians so just had to muliply Pi/180 and it's come as expected.

Thanks for the help,

JJ

Hi Jake, I realise now where I had went wrong. I was calculating the cosine in Excel hadn't realised that it calculates it in radians so just had to muliply Pi/180 and it's come as expected. Thanks for the help, JJ
Guest
Guest - Roger on Sunday, 22 April 2018 01:32

Hi, I've georeferenced an image in Surfer 10 using the suggested 'internal points' method for UTM Zone 34S. The resulting Y-coords relative to Google Earth are good to +/- 5 meters which is OK for my needs. X's are more flaky at +/- 20 meters and I wonder if 'warping' could improve things? All that I see under warping in the drop-down are two boxes 'Affine with coefficients' and "No. points" and neither box is active. Surfer Help has nothing on warping. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

Hi, I've georeferenced an image in Surfer 10 using the suggested 'internal points' method for UTM Zone 34S. The resulting Y-coords relative to Google Earth are good to +/- 5 meters which is OK for my needs. X's are more flaky at +/- 20 meters and I wonder if 'warping' could improve things? All that I see under warping in the drop-down are two boxes 'Affine with coefficients' and "No. points" and neither box is active. Surfer Help has nothing on warping. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
Andrew Dudley on Monday, 23 April 2018 10:30

Hi Roger,

Thank you for posting your comments and question. Surfer 10 does not use any warping when assigning new coordinates to the image, Surfer 15 does. You can find information in Surfer 15's help about the warping on the Georeference Image page. The warping methods require a different number of input calibration points to become active; perhaps this what you are seeing.

Thanks!
Drew Dudley

Hi Roger, Thank you for posting your comments and question. Surfer 10 does not use any warping when assigning new coordinates to the image, Surfer 15 does. You can find information in Surfer 15's help about the warping on the [url=http://surferhelp.goldensoftware.com/surfer.htm#t=command%2Fmap%2FGeoreferenceImage.htm%3Frhhlterm%3Dwarping%26rhsyns%3D%2520]Georeference Image page[/url]. The warping methods require a different number of input calibration points to become active; perhaps this what you are seeing. Thanks! Drew Dudley
Guest
Guest - fadi on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:11

Hi, I'm loving this software. Does surfer 15 support STL or OBJ for 3D printing? If not, is there something else can be done?

Hi, I'm loving this software. Does surfer 15 support STL or OBJ for 3D printing? If not, is there something else can be done?
Guest
Friday, 09 December 2022

Captcha Image

Subscribe To Our Blog

Most Popular

Over the years, one of the most common questions asked is “How can I get my contour map out of Surfe...
Creating a map of slopes is common practice when looking at slope stability. Some examples of when y...
I'm pleased to introduce our first ever guest blogger, Scott Carter, Owner and Creative Director of ...

Exceeding expectations

Our customers

Go to top