Colormap for bathymetry data in Surfer

Surfer has a number of predefined colormaps that can be used to display bathymetric data.  In addition, there are three colormap (CLR) files attached that have been developed to display bathymetric and land data.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) states that "On most bathymetric images of the ocean, colors on the “warm” end of the spectrum – red, orange, and yellow - represent shallower water. As the water deepens, the colors shift through green, blue, and finally into violet. Dry land is usually shown in white."  However, there is no definitive rule stating how color should be used to visualize changes in depth.  

To load a CLR file into a contour map in Surfer:

  1. Select the Contours layer in the Contents window.
  2. In the Properties window, click the Levels tab.
  3. Click the ellipses  button in the Fill colors field.
  4. In the Colormap dialog, click Load.
  5. Select the CLR file you wish and click Open.
  6. Click OK.

By default, new versions of Surfer include the Bathymetry.clr preset under the name Blue-white.

Bathymetry color scales in Surfer

Updated November 12, 2021

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