Golden Software Blog

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Calculate Slope for a Site Suitability Model

I recently received a call from one of our Surfer users who was trying to create a site suitability model for a new manufacturing development. The user needed to find areas within the proposed site where the slope was under 10 degrees. The site suitability model required specific slope to be respected; the areas that were under the threshold criteria of 10% would be considered potential locations within the site to locate the new development.


A site suitability model can be easily developed in Surfer by creating a slope grid from a digital elevation model or DEM for the area, masking the slope grid to the site boundary, and creating a contour map that highlights the areas that meet the 10% or under criteria. Since this is such an interesting workflow, I thought it would be a great topic to blog about it so others in the Surfer community could benefit from seeing the approach.

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Creating elevation contours within a house footprint from paper notes

Golden Software’s Surfer program can be used in so many applied-science industries for so many different uses, I sometimes forget that it is equally applicable to more business or art-oriented fields. I had a user contact me recently with the following request (paraphrased):

“I have a paper copy of the blueprint of a house, and on it I’ve written elevation measurements that I collected while surveying on the premises. I also have a DXF file of the floorplan of the house. How can I create elevation contours in Surfer and limit them to the shape of the house?”

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Do You Want to Test the New Surfer Features?

We are extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of Surfer, the next version of our 2D and 3D mapping, modeling, and analysis program, but we need your help! We are searching for everyday candid users to test drive Surfer’s new features. This is a great opportunity to get a sneak peek into Surfer’s new features and functionality, to provide feedback on usability and have your voice heard, and to help to make these features exceptional.

If you are interested in participating in the beta testing process, please complete this brief survey:

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How to show areas of overlap of two contour maps in Surfer 13

I communicated with a user recently who wanted to find the area of overlap of one specific contour line on one contour map with a specific contour line on another contour map. In his case the first contour map was temperature and the second was rainfall. He wanted to find the area where temperature was above one value and rainfall was above another value. Whether this was for agriculture or for some other purpose I’m not sure, but it got me thinking that there could be many applications for a use like this. For example, you may have a contour map of density of one endangered species, and another for a second endangered species, and you’re trying to identify high populations of both in order to create a wildlife refuge. Or maybe you have population of people on one contour map and energy use on another, and you want to find areas with low population but high energy usage so you can send conservationists into that area to notify the population of smart practices. The uses are endless!

So that said, below are the steps to determine the area where two specific contour levels on two different maps intersect. In this case, I’ll be finding the area in Colorado where temperature is greater than 12oC and precipitation is less than 50 hundredths of inches, which may indicate an area that is more prone to wildfires. The data used in this article was obtained from NOAA. January 2015 – November 2015 data was averaged and then gridded in order to produce the attached grids.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Leo
How did u add the legend at the bottom.?
Saturday, 16 September 2017 10:29
Katie Yoder
Hi Leo, Surfer does not support the creation of standard legends for contour maps so the legend at the bottom of this map was cre... Read More
Monday, 18 September 2017 09:49
Guest — Leonard
Ok, thanks Katie. Is it possible to overlay more than two maps, maybe three or four? Trying to produce a groundwater potential ma... Read More
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 06:00
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Introducing our first guest blogger - Scott Carter of Creative Map Solutions

I'm pleased to introduce our first ever guest blogger, Scott Carter, Owner and Creative Director of Creative Map Solutions. Creative Map Solutions is a Geographic Information System (GIS) solution and Mapping Support company based out of Firestone, CO. Creative Map Solutions has over 20 years of experience in providing GIS and Mapping Solutions to companies. They leverage their experience to handle everything from large one-time projects to ongoing GIS and mapping support.

A true artist at heart, Scott has become an expert on a number of industry leading software applications utilized for GIS, mapping, drafting, 3D modeling, and data conversion. His custom map work has been published in many different media formats including magazines, books, television programs, and a major motion picture.

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