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 Z axis that reflects elevation rather than chemical concentration?


A. There is not a way to automatically define z values for stacked 2D maps in Surfer, but there is still a way to get the same result with a more manual workflow. Follow the steps below to create stacked concentration maps at their respective elevations.

  1. Make sure you have one data file of x,y,concentration at each elevation level, and also one data file of x,y,elevation. The latter file only needs to have three points, two of which should be the elevation minimum and the elevation maximum, since this will only be used for the z scale.
  2. Click Home | Grid Data | Grid Data to grid each data file. 
  3. Click Home | New Map | 3D Surface | Surface, select the elevation grid file, and click Open.
  4. Click Home | New Map | Contour, select a grid file with Z=concentration and click Open to create a contour map from each concentration grid file.
  5. Click Home | Selection | Select All.
  6. In the Properties window click the View tab.
  7. Set the Field of View, Rotation and Projection values to be the same for each map. Usually, setting the Projection to Orthographic works best.
  8. In the Contents window, select the Z axis for the elevation surface map.
  9. In the Properties window, click the Scaling tab.
  10. 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.
  11. Turn off the visibility of the axes of the contour maps in the Contents window by unchecking them.
  12. Turn off the visibility of the 3D Surface layer by unchecking it in the Contents window.
  13. Click and drag the contour maps until they are at the proper vertical location along the surface map z axis. You can zoom in and use the arrow keys to perform fine-tuned adjustments.
  14. 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).
  15. Once the contour maps are vertically arranged correctly, click Home | Selection | Select All and then click Map Tools | Map Tools | Stack Maps.

 Stack 2D concentration maps in Surfer.


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 November 2, 2018


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