Surfer 13

Surfer is a full-function 3D visualization, contouring and surface modeling package that runs under Microsoft Windows. Surfer is used extensively for terrain modeling, bathymetric modeling, landscape visualization, surface analysis, contour mapping, watershed and 3D surface mapping, gridding, volumetrics, and much more.

What’s New in Surfer 13?

We have compiled a list of some of the top new features in Surfer 13. This list is only a small sampling of the new features added to Surfer 13.

  • Graticule and Grid
  • Viewshed Maps
  • More Geoprocessing Tools
  • Query Base Map Objects
  • Attribute Management
  • Utilize the New Welcome Dialog
  • Display Lat/Lon Labels In DMS Format
  • Create Image Maps with Hill Shading
  • Add a Title to Your Color Scale Bar
  • Display Labels in Custom Date/Time Format
  • Improved WMS Connectivity
  • Specify Units for Local Coordinate Systems
  • Limit the Z Range of Gridded Data
  • SID and ECW Import Improvements
  • Calculate Statistics on Range of Values
  • Changing Blanking Flag when Saving Digitized Data
  • Consecutively Delete Vertices when Reshaping
  • Assign Coordinate System to All Unreferenced Layers
  • Search for Coordinate Systems
  • New Coordinate Systems and Datums
  • New and Improved Import Functions
  • New and Improved Export Functions
  • New Automation Commands

More about What’s New in Surfer 13? Click Here


Surfer’s sophisticated interpolation engine transforms your XYZ data into publication-quality maps. Surfer provides more gridding methods and more control over gridding parameters, including customized variograms, than any other software package on the market. You can also use grid files obtained from other sources, such as USGS DEM files or ESRI grid files. Display your grid as outstanding contour, 3D surface, 3D wireframe, watershed, vector, image, shaded relief, and viewshed maps. Add base maps to show boundaries and imagery, post maps to show point locations, and combine map types to create the most informative display possible. Virtually all aspects of your maps can be customized to produce exactly the presentation you want. Generating publication quality maps has never been quicker or easier.

Create colorful contour maps with custom levels, colors, and a color scale!

Contour Maps

Display contour maps over any contour range and contour interval, or specify only the contour levels you want to display on the map. And with Surfer you can add color fill between contours to produce dazzling displays of your maps, or produce gray scale fills for dramatic black and white printouts.
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Create exciting 3D surface maps from your XYZ data! Image courtesy of Igor Yashayaev, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

3D Surface Maps

The 3D surface map uses shading and color to emphasize your data features. Change the lighting, display angle and tilt with a click of the mouse. Overlay several surface maps to generate informative block diagrams.
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Image Maps

.Surfer image maps use different colors to represent Z values of a grid file. Surfer optionally blends colors between Z values so you end up with a smooth color gradation over the entire map, or you can leave the colors unblended so each cell in the grid file shows a distinct color. Choose to display the image map with hill shading to give a 3D effect.

This powerful feature allows you to create color maps using any combination of colors. Add a color scale to show the values of the different colors! Image maps can be created independently of other maps, or can be combined with other map layers. They can be scaled, resized, limited and moved.
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Post Maps

Post maps show points at XY locations, such as sample locations, well locations, or original data point locations. Use the points to show the distribution of data points on the map, and to demonstrate the accuracy of the gridding methods you use. Add multiple labels to the points, connect the points with a line, and control the size, shape and color of the symbol.

Also create classed post maps that identify different ranges of data by automatically assigning a different symbol or color to each data range.
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Base Maps

Display your base maps in Surfer alone or overlay them on other maps.

Surfer can import maps in many different formats to display geographic information. Base maps are created from any number of file formats, such as SHP, DXF, GeoTIFF, and PDF. In addition to loading existing files as base map, you can also download georeferenced imagery automatically from countless free online Web Map Service (WMS) servers through Surfer’s built-in WMS browser. Connect to the online data source, pick the layer of interest you want to download, and then watch as Surfer downloads the image and seamlessly loads it into your project.

Combine base maps with other map layers in map overlays, or create stand-alone base maps independent of other maps on the page. Load any number of base maps on a page. It is easy to overlay a base map on a contour or surface wireframe map, allowing you to display geographic information in combination with the three dimensional data.

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When using base map data with attribute information (such as the data in SHP files), you can manage the attribute data easily in the attribute table and query objects based on object property or attribute information.
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Shaded Relief Maps

Create spectacular maps in seconds.

Shaded relief maps are raster images based on grid files. Colors are assigned based on slope orientation relative to a light source. Surfer determines the orientation of each grid cell and calculates reflectance of a point light source on the grid surface.

The light source can be thought of as the sun shining on a topographic surface. Surfer automatically blends colors between percentage values so you end up with a smooth color gradation over the map. You can add color anchors so each anchor point can be assigned a unique color, and the colors are automatically blended between adjacent anchor points. This allows you to create color maps using any combination of colors. Shaded relief maps can be created independently of other maps, or can be combined with other layers. Shaded relief maps can be scaled, resized, limited, and moved in the same way as other types of maps.
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A USGS SDTS DEM file was used to create this map and color zones were defined for the X and Y lines.

3D Wireframe Maps

Surfer wireframe maps provide an impressive three dimensional display of your data. Wireframes are created by connecting Z values along lines of constant X and Y.
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Vector Maps

Instantly create vector maps in Surfer to show direction and magnitude of data at points on a map. You can create vector maps from information in one grid or two separate grids. The two components of the vector map, direction and magnitude, are automatically generated from a single grid by computing the gradient of the represented surface.

At any given grid node, the direction of the arrow points in the direction of the steepest descent. The magnitude of the arrow changes depending on the steepness of the descent. Two-grid vector maps use two separate grid files to determine the vector direction and magnitude. The grids can contain Cartesian or polar data. With Cartesian data, one grid consists of X component data and the other grid consists of Y component data. With polar data, one grid consists of angle information and the other grid contains length information. Overlay vector maps on contour or wireframe maps to enhance the presentation!
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Watershed Maps

Detail every aspect of your map from creating watershed boundaries to adding city streets and surrounding elevations, like the above map of Seward, Alaska.

Watershed maps automatically calculate and display drainage basins and streams from your grid file.

Create colorful watershed maps to display regions draining into a stream, stream system or body of water. Display the catchment basins, streams, or both. Export the basins and streams to any supported file format, including SHP and DXF files, for use in other software! Surfer uses the accurate eight-direction pour point algorithm to calculate the flow direction at each grid node.
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Viewshed Maps

.Perform viewshed analysis using a loaded grid file with a user-specified transmitter location, height, starting angle and radius. All visible areas from the transmitter location within the selected radius are filled with a user-specified color. Alternatively, choose to display the invisible areas from the transmitter.

Viewshed analysis is useful in many applications, such as determining if mining operations or drill rigs can be viewed from public locations, determining what is visible from trails or roads, and to locate communication towers.
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Surfer’s automatic profile tool makes it easy to visualize the change in Z value from one point to another.

Simply select the map, add a profile, and draw the line on the map. Include as many points as you want in the line; it could be a simple two-point line, or a zig-zag shape. In all cases, the profile is created showing the Z value change along the length of the line. Reshape the line on the map, and the profile automatically updates.
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Graticule and Grid Lines

Add graticule lines or another grid to your map to view the location in multiple sets of coordinate units!  Display latitude and longitude graticule lines over a projected map, or create a map in meters and add a grid in feet.
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More Features

System Requirements

  • Windows XP SP2 or higher, Vista, 7, 8 (excluding RT) or higher
  • 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems supported
  • 1024 x 768 or higher monitor resolution with 16-bit (or higher) color depth
  • At least 500 MB free hard disk space
  • At least 512 MB RAM minimum
32-bit and 64-bit versions of Surfer are available.

Overview Video

This video is an introduction to the updated user-interface of Surfer 13.

Free Demo Downloads

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