Surfer 12 New Feature Highlight: Download Online Maps

A great new feature has been added in Surfer 12! There is now the ability to directly download data and basemaps from any web mapping service (WMS). You can download maps from the many preinstalled map servers, or connect to a new map servers to download maps directly into Surfer. For example, here are a few of the available servers that are preinstalled in Surfer 12:

Here are the steps to us the Download Online Maps features in Surfer 12:

  1. Select the map on which you would like to add a base layer.
  2. Click the Map | Add | Base Layer from Server command or click the World.png button to download an image base map from a web mapping server. The Download Online Maps dialog allows you to download data or maps from any web mapping service (WMS). Images can be downloaded from any of the existing servers or new servers can be added to the list
  3. In the Download Online Maps dialog, click the DownArrow.png button next to Imagery.
  4. Click the DownArrow.png button next to the NAIP Color Imagery for US server name.
  5. Click on the Orthoimager/USGS_EDC_Ortho_NAIP layer.
  6. Notice the Specify Latitude/Longitude Extents is selected with the boundaries of the selected Map.

    The Specify Latitude/Longitude extents is automatically 
    filled with the extents of the existing map

  7. In the Select Image Resolution to Download section, drag the slider to the right to increase the image resolution. The farther to the right the slider is located, the higher the resolution and the larger the image file size. 


    Move the slider to select the image quality you would like to download. You can see the image pixel dimensions and file size to the right of the slider.

  8. Click OK and the base layer downloads. A progress bar of the online map download will display during the download (shown below). The base layer is automatically placed behind the contour and post layers in your existing Map.

  9. If a Surfer Warning dialog appears asking you to update the Map extents. Click Yes if you would like to update the map extents to include the downloaded Map layer, otherwise click No. Clicking Yes will update the extent of the existing map from to include the limits specified in the Base Layer from Server dialog.


    Surfer Warning Dialog to update the Map extents.

  10. After clicking Yes in the Surfer Warning dialog, the downloaded base layer will be displayed in the selected Map frame. The new base layer is automatically placed behind the existing layers.
  11. Click on the Base - Orthoimagery/USGS_EDC_Ortho_NAIP layer in the Object Manager to select the new base layer. 
  12. In the Property Manager, click on the Coordinate System tab. Note that the base layer was imported with the coordinate system already specified in the Map object. This map layer is in World Geodetic System 1984, as shown in the Name field.

Image_5.pngCoordinate System information for the downloaded map.

You can find additional information about any of the available online maps in the Download Online Maps dialog by viewing the layer information, described below:

Layer Information
Information about the data source can be found by right-clicking on the online map and clicking the Info… option. 

Image_6.pngRight-click Info to display the layer information for the selected data source.

After clicking the Info option, the dialog shown below will display any of the included metadata for that layer.

Example Layer Information table.

Copy the layer information to Clipboard
It is possible to save the layer information for future reference, or documentation, you can right-click the data source and click the Copy to Clipboard option. The information can then be pasted into another document.

Image_8.pngRight-click Copy to Clipboard to copy the data source information.

Example Layer Info, copied to clipboard:

NAIP Color Imagery for US


Specify Favorites
It is possible to save frequently used WMS data sources asFavoritesin the Download Online Maps dialog. This is convenient if you use the same data source to frequently download new basemaps for your projects.

Right-click Add to Favorite to copy the data source to the Favorites folder.

Adding New Data Sources
It is also possible to add more WMS Map Server to the Download Online Maps dialog if the server that you use is not already listed. To do this, right-click on one of the Data Source groups. Click the Add button to link a new WMS Map Server in Surfer 12.

Right-click on a Data Source folder to Add a new WMS Server in the Download Online Maps dialog.

In the Add Data Source dialog, type in the name and the WMS server URL that you would like to add as an available data source. Click Next to test the data source, Surfer will contact the URL provided to check that a connection can be established.

Add Data Source
Name and URL to connect to a WMS Server.

If you have added a valid data source, the following test information dialog will be displayed.

Confirmation message for connection to WMS Server.

Click Finish to add this data source as a new online map source in Surfer 12!

Golden Software has compiled a list of WMS Servers that can be used with our software. To view this list, provide feedback on a listed source, or let us know about a server that you use often, please visit the WMS Servers page of the Golden Software website.

Here is an example view of the Download Online Maps dialog in Surfer 12:

Example view of the Download Online Maps dialog showing orthoimagery of Golden, CO.
This imagery is available to download from the NAIP Color Imagery for US server.

 Here are a few examples of available basemaps that you can download using the preset map servers in Surfer 12:

National Atlas - US Federal Lands

National Atlas - US Congressional Districts

World Mineral Deposits


Blue Marble - MODIS Composite Land Image
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