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Create thematic maps in Surfer

To apply base symbology to color code objects with attributes in base layers, follow the steps below. Prefer a video? Watch Surfer's Base Symbology Training Video.

  1. Create a base map by clicking Home | New Map | Base or Home | New Map | Base from Data, selecting a vector or text file and clicking Open.
  2. Be sure the objects in the base layer have attributes associated with them. Attributes can either be imported with the file, or you can manually enter them. To check, add or edit attribute values, select the Base(vector) layer in the Contents window and click Map Tools | Layer Tools | Open Attribute Table.
  3. To apply the symbology, select the Base(vector) layer in the Contents window.
  4. In the Properties window, on the General tab, click the Edit Symbology button. The Symbology dialog opens.
  5. Edit the symbology options:
    Apply symbology to color code iobjects in a Surfer base map
    • None: No symbology is applied. The properties for the objects are based on the drawing properties specified in the Properties window.
    • Unique Values (text or numeric attributes): This allows you to set specific colors/properties to objects that have specific attribute values (e.g. assign all lines to brown if they have an attribute named “road type” and the value is “highway”). To use Unique Values:
      1. Select the desired attribute column in the Attribute field. 
      2. Click Add all (addall.png). If needed, remove values (remove.png) from the table, change the colors scheme (pallete.png) for the values, or load (load.png) or save (save.png) a symbology scheme.
      3. Change individual symbol, line, or fill properties by selecting each in the table and changing the properties on the right pane.  
    • Unclassed Colors or Unclassed Symbols (numeric attributes only): This allows you to set gradational colors or symbol sizes based on a numeric range of attribute values. Select a numeric attribute field, and then select the colormap or the symbol properties.
    • Classed Colors or Classed Symbols (numeric attributes only): This allows you to divide your objects into classes based on a numeric attribute value, and each class can have its own color or symbol. Select a numeric attribute field, and then class objects based on that attribute value.
  1. When you are satisfied, click OK or Apply and the changes are made to the map.
  2. To create a legend, click Map Tools | Add to Map | Legend.
A color coded base map in Surfer using symbology based on an attribute


Updated November 10, 2021

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