Can I stack/overlay 2D concentration contour maps at their respective elevations in Surfer?

Q. I would like to create a series of stacked 2D contour maps that contain contoured groundwater data taken from a constant elevation across a site. How can I bring the contour maps together into a single block style diagram with a imposed Z axis that reflects elevation rather than chemical concentration?


A. There is not a way to do this automatically in Surfer, but there is a manual workflow. Follow the steps below to create stacked concentration maps at their respective elevations.

  1. Click Home | Grid Data | Grid Data and grid your data so that you have all your grid files at the various elevations with Z=concentration, and then grid one using Z=elevation. This will just be used as the Z scale.
  2. Click Home | New Map | 3D Surface | Surface, select the grid file with Z=elevation and click Open.
  3. Click Home | New Map | Contour, select a grid file with Z=concentration and click Open.
  4. Repeat creating contour maps for all grids where Z=concentration.
  5. Click Home | Selection | Select All and in the Properties window click the View tab.
  6. Set the Field of View, Rotation and Tilt values to be the same for each map. Usually, setting the Projection to Orthographic works best.
  7. In the Contents window, select the Z axis for the surface map and in the Properties window, click the Scaling tab.
  8. Set the Axis minimum and Axis maximum to be the minimum and maximum elevations of the contour maps.
    Note: If you changed the Axis minimum value, you may need to select the Bottom Axis and Left Axis for the surface map and change the Cross Z axis at value.
  9. Turn off the visibility of the axes of the contour maps in the Contents window by unchecking them.
  10. Turn off the visibility of the 3D Surface layer by unchecking it in the Contents window.
  11. Use the Z axis of the surface map to vertically arrange the contour maps at the correct elevation value. You can zoom in and use the arrow keys to position the maps exactly at the correct elevation value.
  12. You may need to then drag and drop the contour maps in the Contents window to a new order so that the maps are drawn correctly (the maps on the bottom of the stack are underneath all the upper maps).
  13. Once the contour maps are vertically arranged correctly, click Home | Selection | Select All and then Map Tools | Map Tools | Stack Maps.

 stacked maps


Please see attached SRF file for example. If you would like to add your vote for this feature to our suggestion file, please contact


Updated October 25, 2017


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