Open Grid

Contour maps, color relief maps, vector maps, watershed maps, 3D wireframes, 3D surfaces, grid values maps, and viewsheds all require grids for their generation in Surfer. A grid is a regular, rectangular array of values. The Home | Grid Data | Grid Data command provides you with several methods for generating a grid file from your XYZ data. In addition to the grid files that Surfer creates, it can also import many common grid files directly. The Grid menu contains many commands for grid operations. A grid with all NoData nodes cannot be saved.

The Open Grid dialog is used to open one or more grid files when creating new grid-based maps or layers or when using a grid command (i.e. Grids | Edit | Convert). When multiple files are selected, one map is created for each input file.

example dialog
Specify the file to open in the Open Grid dialog.

Look In

The Look in field shows the current directory. Click the down arrow to see the directory structure and click on the folders to change directories.

Creating New Folders and Changing the View

The buttons to the right of the Look in field allow you to create new folders and change the view of the file list.

File List

The file list displays files in the current directory. The current directory is listed in the Look in field. The Files of type field controls the display of the file list. For example, if Golden Software Data (*.DAT) is listed in the Files of type field only *.DAT files appear in the files list.

Double-click on a file to open it or single-click the file and then click the Open button. To open more than one file, select the files you wish to use by holding CTRL while clicking, and then click Open. When adding grid-based maps, each file is added as a separate map.

Specify a File Name

The File name field shows the name of the selected file, or type a path and file name into the box to open a file.

Specify a File Type

The Files of type field shows the file format to be opened. To change the file format, click the down arrow and select the file type from the list. All Files (*.*) display all files in a directory.

The Common Document Files (*...) format type is selected by default. This displays all the common file formats in the navigation pane. If a different format type is selected, Surfer will remember the setting until the end of the current session. When Surfer is restarted, the default format type will be used.

To see all files in the directory, choose All Files (*.*) from the Files of type list. Double-click on a file to open it or single click the file and then click the Open button. The All Files (*.*) option shows all of the file formats in the current directory, even if the file type is not appropriate for the action chosen. For example, a .BLN file may be displayed, even though a .BLN file cannot be used to create a grid base map.

Open Files

Surfer tracks the files being used by maintaining a list of opened files for new maps and the files used in saved maps. The file(s) used in existing maps are shown in a compiled list in the Open Grids field of the Open Grid(s) dialog.

Grid Info

The selected grid file information is listed in the Grid Info section. The specific location, name, format, size, xMin, xMax, yMin, yMax, zMin, and zMax values are displayed. Use the scroll bar to the right if necessary to see all of the information. Use the grip at the lower right corner of the dialog to expand the size of the dialog if the grid information is cut off on the right.

Download Online Grids

Click the Download button to open the Download Online Grids dialog. Use the Download Online Grids dialog to retrieve a grid file from a WMS server.

File Types

ADF Arc/Info Binary Grid

AM Amira Mesh

AN? ACR-NEMA Medical Image

ASC Arc/Info ASCII Grid

ASI Amira Stacked Images

BIL/BIP/BSQ Banded Grid

BMP Windows Bitmap

CPS-3 Grid Format

DICOM3 Medical Image




E00 ASCII Grid Format

ECW ERMapper

ERS ER Mapper Grid Format


FLT Esri Float Grid Format

GIF Image


GRD Surfer Grid

GRD Geosoft Binary Grid

GXF Grid eXchange Format

HDF Hierarchical Data Format


IMG Analyze 7.5 Medical Image

IMG Idrisi Raster Format

INFO Leica Confocal Raw Slices

JPG Compressed Bitmap

LAT Iris Explorer

PNG Portable Network Graphics


RAW Raw Binary Grid


SID LizardTech MrSID Image

STK Metamorph

SUN Sun Raster Image



TGA Targa (TrueVision)


TIF Tagged Image

VTK Visualization Toolkit

X AVS X-Image


ZMap Plus Grid Format

Open Grids

Surfer tracks the files being used by maintaining a list of opened grids for new maps and the grids used in saved maps. The grids(s) used to build maps are shown in a compiled list in the Open Grids field of the Open Grid dialog. The only exception is that vector data between base layers will not be shown.

See Also

Save Grid As

Grid Files