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How can I plot or draw lines (e.g. track lines) over my Surfer map?

There are a few ways you can add lines to a map. Which way is best depends on if you know the coordinates of the line(s) you want to plot, and if you have one line or more than one line. For example, you can add lines as a post layer, a base layer or you can simply draw them on top of the map as part of a base layer.

 

Method 1: Post layer
If you know the XY coordinates of the line, you can simply enter them in the worksheet, create a post map from the data points, and then connect the points with a line. This is a good method if you just have one line. For example:

  1. Click File | New | Worksheet. This will open a worksheet in Surfer.
  2. Enter the X and Y coordinates of the points that make up the line. Enter them in the order you want them connected.
  3. When finished, click File | Save and save it to a DAT file.
  4. Click File | Close to close the DAT file.
  5. Then you can go back to your map, click Home | New Map | Post, select the DAT file and click Open.
  6. Select the Post layer in the Contents window, and in the Properties window on the General page, make sure the X and Y columns are correct, and then check the box next to Connect points.

 

Method 2: Base layer
Alternatively, if you know the XY coordinates of the starting, ending and any middle points of the line, you can enter the coordinates in the worksheet with a one-line header (the number of data points in the line) and save it to a BLN file format. Then you can add a base layer to the map and load the BLN file. This is a good method if you have more than one line. For example:

  1. Click File | New | Worksheet. This will open a worksheet in Surfer.
  2. In cell A1, enter a 2 (for a 2-point line). This is the header row for the line object, and is the number of data points in the following line.
  3. In row 2, enter the X and Y coordinates of the beginning of one line. The X coordinate should be in column A, and the Y coordinate should be in column B.
  4. In row 3, enter the X and Y coordinates for the ending of that line.
  5. In cell A4, enter another 2. This is the header row for the next line object, and is the number of data points in the next line. If your lines have more than two vertices, you can increase this number to match however many vertices you have in your line.
  6. In rows 5 and 6 enter the X and Y coordinates for the beginning and ending of the next line.
  7. Repeat so that the data for all lines are entered, and each line is preceded with a header row consisting of the number of data points for that line.
  8. When finished, click File | Save and save it to a BLN file.
  9. Click File | Close to close the BLN file.
  10. Then you can go back to your map, click Home | Add to Map | Layer | Base, select the BLN file and click Open.

 

Method 3: Draw them as part of base layer
If you don't know the exact XY coordinates of the line and can just draw it over the map, then instead you can:

  1. Select the map and click Home | Add to Map | Layer | Empty Base.
  2. Right click over the new empty Base(vector) layer in the Contents window and click Start Editing.
  3. Click Home | Insert | Polyline and draw the polyline(s) on the map. Since you are in edit group mode, everything you draw will be added to the base layer and be part of the map.
  4. When you are finished adding objects, right click over the Base(vector) layer in the Contents window and click Stop Editing.

 

Updated October 12, 2017

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