A topic in which we receive many customer inquiries is coordinate systems. I recently reviewed the individual questions as they pertain to Surfer, and many users are confused about where to change the coordinate system information, what to set it to, or what order to perform the steps. To shed some light on this very important component of map making, this blog will address these questions.
I recently had a question where a user needed to convert the XY coordinates of the map from lat/lon (degrees) into meters, so that they could add a profile to the map showing meters as the Distance units instead of degrees.
Before the map can be converted into a new coordinate system, each layer in the map needs a coordinate system assigned (or “set”) to it. That way, Surfer knows how to convert each layer from its source coordinate system to the target system specified for the map.
The coordinate system assigned to the layer is the source coordinate system for that layer (the coordinate system of the file used to create that layer). The coordinate system for the map is the target coordinate system and can be anything you want. Each layer will be individually transformed on-the-fly from their respective source coordinate systems to the target coordinate system of the map and displayed in the plot window in the target coordinate system.
For example, the map above has multiple layers in it (a contour layer and an image layer). The steps to follow to convert the coordinate system of the map from lat/lon to another coordinate system (e.g. UTM) are:
In some cases, e.g. calculating volumes or blanking a grid, you may need to actually convert the coordinate system of the grid file or boundary file itself and not just the map display. For information on converting the coordinate systems of source data or grid files, please see our newsletter article Converting the Coordinate System of Data, Image, Vector, and Grid Files in Surfer. If you still have any questions about coordinate system or how to manage them in Surfer, please contact us at email@example.com.
Other resources that might be of use:
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