How can I view reference points when editing my contour map?

Surfer's grid editor does not currently support showing context layers when editing grid files.  However, the workflow provided below can be used to make the edits directly in the map with other map layers used as a reference.  If you would like us to add the ability to show additional layers as reference in the grid editor, let us know.

To make edits to contours directly in the map with reference layers present, the contours must be converted to a base layer.  The contour polylines can then be reshaped and the grid file recreated using the edited contours. Follow the steps below to do this.

  1. Select the Contours layer and click Map Tools | Layer Tools | Export Contours.
  2. Choose to save it to AutoCAD DXF format, give the file a name, and click Save.
  3. Click Home | Add to Map | Layer | Base, select the DXF file and click Open. The base layer of the contours is added to the original map. Each polyline in the Base layer has the original Z value as an attribute, which you can see by selecting the line and clicking the Info tab in the Properties window.
  4. Uncheck the check box next to the Contours layer in the Contents window so you no longer see the original map.
  5. Select the line in the Base layer to be reshaped and click Features | Edit Features | Reshape to display the vertices of the contour line.
  6. Click on a vertex and drag it to a new location to reshape the polyline.  For more information on how to reshape click the question mark icon  in the upper right hand corner of the program window. In the Help, click the Contents tab and then click Surfer 15 | Editing | Features Tab Commands | Reshape.
  7. Select another polyline to reshape or press ESC on the keyboard to exit Reshape mode.
  8. To use the edited contours to create a contour map, first the edits must be used to create a new grid file.  Click Grids | New Grid | Grid from Contours.
  9. In the Grid Contours dialog, click in the Contour Source field and select the Base layer.
  10. In the Select Field dialog, click OK.
  11. Check the box next to Partial contour cleanup.
  12. Click in the Add grid as layer to field and select [Map].
  13. Click in the New layer type field and select Contour.
  14. Click OK.
  15. A new contour layer is created using the new grid file based on the contour edits made above.


If you are looking to add reference points while in the Grid Editor, the easiest way to do this is to tile the windows and use Surfer's Track Cursor command. You can read more about the Track Cursor command in the knowledge base article, What Is Surfer's Track Cursor Command?.

Updated October 22, 2018


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