Display XYZ points in 3D space in the Surfer 3D View

In Surfer, you can easily display your points in 3D space in the 3D view. In order for the points to be displayed, the following conditions must be true:

  • The points must be in a Post, Classed Post, Base, or Base from Data map layer
  • At least one point in the layer must have third data column or attribute (as well as the X and Y position), which must be numeric. This will be used as the Z coordinate. Other points in the layer that lack a Z coordinate will not be displayed in the 3D View as true 3D points, although they may be displayed as texture overlays on a surface.

Follow the steps below to create a stunning 3D visualization of your data, similar to the example shown.

Display point data in true 3D in Surfer



Follow the directions below to view point data in true 3D space in the 3D view.

  1. Create a Post map, Classed Post map, Base map , or Base from Data map, or any combination of these map types. Your Map frame may also contain other types of map layers.
  2. Create the 3D view by either right clicking over the map or layer and clicking the 3D View command, or by selecting the map and clicking Map Tools | View | 3D View.
  3. The Contents window shows the layers with the point data under the Vector Data category:
    Surfer's 3D view Contents window
  4. Select the Post object from the Contents window under Vector Data. The properties for this layer are displayed in the Properties window.
    Surfer's properties window for 3D point data
  5. On the Z coordinate page, set the Z coordinates field:
    • If your data file contains columns named ZZLEVELELEVATION, or DEPTH, then the Z coordinates field will be automatically populated, and your point data will be displayed.
    • If the conditions above or not fulfilled, then you will need to manually select a data column in the Z coordinates field. The points will now appear in the 3D View.
  6. On the General page, there are many other properties.
    • The Symbol method can either be set as Same as plot or fixed Symbols.
      • If Same as plot is chosen, the symbol will be the same as those chosen on the 2D plot view. Changing the symbol in the plot view will also change the symbol in the 3D View.
      • If Symbols is chosen, then all points will use the same symbol, selected from this drop down menu.
    • The Sizing method can be either Same as plotFixed, or Proportional.
      • Same as plot sizes the symbols to be the same as they are in the 2D plot window.
      • Fixed allows you to choose a fixed size for all symbols.
      • Proportional requires a Size data column be selected to define the scale of proportional sizing. A minimum and maximum size must also be entered.
    • The Color method can be set to Same as plot, Fixed, or By colormap.
      • Same as plot colors the symbols with the same colors as they are in the 2D plot window.
      • Fixed allows you to select a specific Color to use for all symbols.
      • By colormap allows you to specify a Color column to use as the data to map the colors to, and then a Colormap must be chosen that defines the desired color ramp.


You can watch a brief overview of the 3D View features here: Surfer 3D View Training Video


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Date Votes
  • Hi!

    Is there any way to add a label to the points displayed in 3D, such as the concentration? This is available in Voxler and very convenient.


  • Hi Thomas, 


    Thank you for your question. Currently that is not possible, but I've filed a report with our developers to offer that functionality in a future version.



    Gregory McCotter

    Customer Support

  • Hi

    Is there a way to display 3D poins on an existing 3D surface created on Surfer?


  • Hi Luciano,

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, this is possible. You can achieve this by adding either a PostClassed PostBase, or Base from Data layer to your existing map using the Home | Add to Map | Layer command, as long as at least one point in the layer has a third data column or attribute to be used as the Z coordinate. 


    Gregory McCotter

    Customer Support


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