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.
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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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Recent comment in this post
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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Dec
22

Welcome to the Sondermülldeponie Kölliken (SMDK); the Kölliken Hazardous Waste Landfill

Rainer Albert is an experienced Surfer user and recently discovered the versatility of Voxler. Below outlines his contribution to the modeling of the Kölliken hazardous waste landfill using 3D visualizations from both Surfer and Voxler.

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Dec
01

Updated: Netherlands Company Uses Surfer to Search for Drowning Victim

We recently received an update on the case of the missing diver. The blog has been rewritten to reflect this new information.

November 20, 2011 - Four recreational divers went looking for wreckages at the bottom of De Nieuwe Meer in Amsterdam, Netherlands, an approximately 30 meter deep lake. The group split into two pairs and set out on their adventure. They were well-equipped and all wore full face diving masks.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Tom McClintock
Giving the family closure is the next best thing to rescue. Keeping the SAR divers safe until the inlet for the pipe was examined ... Read More
Friday, 22 January 2016 12:46
Guest — M. Koray Eray
Excellent job, very professional.
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 11:32
Guest — dan
Too bad the man died, but it is an interesting application of the mapping software. Thanks for sharing.
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 14:23
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Nov
24

What Are the Most Popular Commands and Map Types in Surfer?

When you installed Surfer 13, you might have noticed the request to be part of our customer tracking program. What is this? This isn’t where we track your personal data or use any personal information from your computer. What this entails is Golden Software checking to see what commands you use in Surfer. That’s all. We want to see what you click and how many times you click it. 

Why is this important? This tells us which features are used the most, and which features are used the least. The more times a feature is used, the more weight it carries when the time comes for us to discuss which new improvements to include in the next upgrade. For example, if the results show that most people create contour maps and very few people use vector maps, we may favor new features and enhancements for contour maps over vector maps. 

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Recent Comments
Guest — Paul Maconochie
I am a long time user of Surfer and found this article very interesting. I too use classed post maps. Perhaps the stats are indic... Read More
Tuesday, 04 December 2018 13:56
Katie Yoder
Hi Paul, I'm happy to hear that you found this article interesting. If you're ever looking for unique ways to use the software, ... Read More
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 15:07
Guest — dan
Very interesting!
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 14:25
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