Surfer Reviews & Product Details

Surfer Overview

What is Surfer?

Surfer® is a full-function 2D and 3D mapping, modeling, and analysis software package for scientists and engineers. Surfer's sophisticated interpolation engine quickly transforms XYZ data into publication-quality maps. Virtually every aspect of the map is customizable. Enhance maps with profiles, legends, titles and labels, faults and breaklines, or external maps from any web mapping service. Surfer is used extensively by geologists, geophysicists, hydrologists, archaeologists, oceanographers, biologists, consultants, engineers, and many others across the globe.

Surfer Details
Website
Discussions
Surfer Community
Languages Supported
English
Product Description

Surfer is a full-function 3D visualization, contouring and surface modeling package used for terrain modeling, bathymetric modeling, landscape visualization, surface analysis, and more.

How do you position yourself against your competitors?

Surfer's short learning curve allows users to quickly transform data into knowledge. Whenever an inquiry does arise, free top-notch technical support is provided to all users.


Seller Details
Seller
Golden Software
Company Website
Year Founded
1983
HQ Location
Golden, CO
Twitter
@GoldenSoftware1
776 Twitter followers
LinkedIn® Page
www.linkedin.com
21 employees on LinkedIn®
Description

Golden Software offers six products: Surfer for contour and 3D surface mapping, Voxler for 3D data visualization, Grapher for 2D and 3D graphing, MapViewer for thematic mapping and spatial analysis, Didger for digitizing and coordinate conversion, and Strater for well log and borehole plotting.

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Surfer Reviews

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Associate geospatial Information Officer
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

Map tools, grids and plot. contour generation from DEM, cut and fill calculation. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

No, I don't have. surfer is the full software but for the future, it should be supplemented by python and R. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I would say Surfer should be supplemented with Python and R for ease of automation. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

to calculate the volume of any given area, and volume of contaminated soil, surface and subsurface 3D Modeling etc. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Geophysicist
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

interpolation capabilities in contour map creation, many methods that can be selected according to needs Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

I have not used all of the surfer's features in their entirety, so none of them have stuck with me due to surfer Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

2d and 3d contour map creation, base map creation, digitization, and global coordinate transformation. these features make my job easier and faster in conducting various projects Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Geophysicist
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
Business partner of the seller or seller's competitor, not included in G2 scores.
What do you like best?

I used Surfer for the Mapping seismic 2D and 3D data, I find this very useful for coordinate conversion, loading data and fully customizating tools for contours maps. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Maps resolutions are not up to best level. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Customization of Contour maps Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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UM
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

The customizable quality of graphs and the integration with matlab code made my work much faster and presentable. I got best results for heat transfer profile. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Sometimes interpolation was not very accurate. It created lines out of the concentration area which I had to clear for better visualization. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I worked on a project for analysis of heat transfer rate through annular fins and I found surfer to be very useful for result graphy creation. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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UH
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

The software is very powerful and user-friendly. Most everything is intuitive. It is simple enough that I was able to pick it up as an undergrad with little guidance, and powerful enough that I used it during my Ph.D. studies. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

It does seem to always be playing catch up with other, more expensive geospatial softwares. This requires learning workarounds that can decrease the efficiency of finishing projects. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If it is available at your company, go ahead and try it. Do the tutorial! It is quick and easy to pick up. If it is not available, ask for a free trial to try it out. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Coming from Academia, the most important things were on-ramping speed for new users and price point. Surfer is something that undergraduate students can pick up very easily, and can also afford if they need to purchase geospatial/GIS software for their career right out of school. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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UA
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

Availability of plenty customizations in terms of visualizations. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Not specified to a particular field as other software does. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Creating 3D visualizations. Helps in Impressing the clients. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Mine Engineer
Mining & Metals
Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

I have gone round and i must admit that i have not seen a tool with best contouring alogarithims like surfer and there is more to add to it on the sensible contour maps it can produce in a very short span of period. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

I would like to have more controll in editing ground and it is so disrespectfull when it comes to units of measurements because it does not follow by default measurements. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Well apart from flexibility in editing and measurement monopoly would have no problem recommending this tool to miners and geologists out there. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Creation of perfect contour map and analysis i would say generally utilise it for mapping purposes and mining as well as creating geological and geochemical models. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Archaeology Field Director
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

Surfer is a fairly easy-to-use piece of software that creates great looking products. It allows for plenty of customization in terms of contour intervals, color schemes, etc. the software has a wide array of applications within and outside of scientific fields. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

There can be a significant learning curve, at least when it comes to fine-tuning the customizations. In a previous version, I had encountered a lack of functionality that did not permit me to use the program as intended. Newer versions have fixed this functionality. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Stick with it - it could take a lot of tweaking and customizing to get exactly what you are looking for. If you find it difficult to accomplish certain tasks, check for a program update. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We use Surfer to create contour maps showing artifact density. It is a great visualization tool that resulted in eye-catching maps that were used in publications. We have not come across another standalone tool that allows us to do this. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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NCRL Oroville and Tonasket
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

Surfer is an interesting thing to use. It’s reliable and good for everyone to use . Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Surfer is not a dislike thingy. Surfer is hard to manage when you are trying to use it. It’s hard to see what it is used for Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I don’t know if I would recommend it to anyone else. It’s pretty hard to use and control Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Surfer is good when doing a project.

It gives you ideas and how you can use surfer. If you like surfer you don’t have to use it Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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CE
Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

The interface is easy to follow and creates basic figures with ease. Exporting figures is extremely easy. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Not as in depth analysis capabilities as with other platforms. Great for making static figures, but would not recommend for advanced geospatial analyses. One of the biggest things I struggled with when first using Surfer was the resizing of maps. In other GIS platforms, I was able to resize a map and the corresponding scale bar would automatically update. This is not the case in Surfer. To ensure your scale bar is correctly sized, you have to go in and type in two spots (cycle spacing and label). This seems like an easy fix. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Take the time to fully review the capabilities and functions. Download a trial if available and go through all the processes of map creation and analysis that might be pertinent to your work. This will help you make the decision. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am creating groundwater contaminate plume maps and analyzing the characteristics of the data. The kriging function is very easy with the basic parameters. For creating quick and easy isopleth maps, this platform is perfect. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Ingeniero de perforación
Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

The surfer is an ideal tool for all types of 3D modeling based on mappings, of all types of flat surfaces, especially for the creation of animations in three dimensions of land, with different contours and surfaces, thanks to this tool we can explore the land from our computer, and simulate work fields in this software. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

some colors are a little opaque, and do not enhance the quality of the environments created by maps, you can expand a range of colors stronger, and based on this create more real simulations, where you can detail fully, the different types of materials, of the area that you want to explore. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Thanks to surfer we can, give us a better vision of the terrain we want to explore, without needing to be directly in the field, and when we start with the exploration, we can map very large extensions of land, to know that possible obstacle, we can keep taking measure We move forward with the exploration of different land types, giving us a clearer idea of what kind of materials we can find. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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UC
Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
Business partner of the seller or seller's competitor, not included in G2 scores.
What do you like best?

It is simple to use and especially useful to get a quick picture of what is occurring as you begin your initial study. I love to use right after I have collected samples and to quickly enter them into surfer to get a quick initial picture of what is occurring before starting my analysis and report. The ease of creating contours have aided when I realize that there is an error in sampling or with the noise modeling program and I have been able to find errors in the noise modeling or collected another sample in time to get the results in to the client. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

For final product on a report for a client, you still need to carefully examine each contour to make sure they are accurate and make sense. The quality of the contours of course are more accurate and better with more data points. At the edges of your data depending on the project contours need to be adjusted to show true life accuracy. To better use surfer be careful on where you collect data so you data points are enough to show accurate contours. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use surfer to create groundwater contamination plume contours to submit with cleint reports or to analyze for remediation. I also used contours to evaluate noise along highways and create visuals overlayed on an aerial photo to determine who recieves a reductcion from the proposed noise wall. I have also used it to show groundwater flow for various projects. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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CE
Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

I use the software primarily for creating groundwater elevation contours, for which it is relatively fast and easy to produce. I have also used it to create 3D cross-sections. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

I would like the software to have more CAD-like functionality for drawing, such as snap to grid. Maybe I just don't know all of the features yet. I would also like more tutorials and help functionality so I can learn how to use it better. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you create contours by hand with CAD software, Surfer can save you time and money, and create more realistic models. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Creating groundwater elevation models quickly and accurately. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Response from Blakelee Mills of Surfer

Thanks for your review! We're always looking for ways to improve and feature development is based directly on feedback from users. Please email support@goldensoftware.com with your feature requests and we'd be glad to add it to our customer request database.

Regarding your request for tutorials and help functionality, check out the Surfer support portal that has a ton of how-to articles and videos - https://support.goldensoftware.com/hc/en-us/categories/115000653807-Surfer. We also offer free webinars (https://www.goldensoftware.com/webinars) and live training classes (https://www.goldensoftware.com/trainingclass).

UM
Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

The program was easy to use and with the limited training that i had with it I was able to perform my required tasks and I was able to navigate through the program without tooo much trouble. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

I really didn't have any problems with the program. I was trained to use a limited number of function within the program, but it provided me with the tools necessary to complete my tasks. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Surfer was used to create geologic models which were used in forcasting production and qualities of production. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Senior Consultant Geologist
Oil & Energy
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

Simple and quick It is good for data QC. Basic interpretation in non-faulted areas Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Very little options - No much power. The option of algorithms is very limited. Faulting is very limited. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

A quic display - data QC Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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CE
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

I like that the program is both basic and easy to use, and capable at the same time. There are plenty of resources available online to help with any problem. The contouring is much more capable than freeware such as QGIS. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

The constant updates are hard to keep up with. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

The cost is worth the time savings. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Provides professional groundwater contour maps to clients, that are easy to produce. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Hydrogeologist I-Project Manager in the Corrective Action and Field Support Section
Environmental Services
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Review source: Invitation from G2
What do you like best?

The user interface. Very simple and easy to use Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Not a lot of help the user interface is hard to understand at some points Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Groundwater modeling and contaminant transport Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2 on behalf of the seller
What do you like best?

In essence, Surfer permits automated map drafting of all sorts. I especially appreciate its georeferencing, contouring, and map overlay features. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Nothing about the program is problematic in my experience. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

This program, like all others in the Golden Software Suite, requires experience to gain the most benefit. Fortunately, most of the other programs provided by Golden Software use the same general architecture, so learning on one of their programs is likely transferrable to other members of their program suite. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The program, again, permits automated map drafting of all sorts. It used to take me a whole day, for example, to hand contour a single data set. With Surfer I can make (literally) hundreds of contour maps, construct overlays on topographic or other base maps -- and thereby much more quickly make sense out of field data. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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UH
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from the seller
What do you like best?

I have been using Surfer since it was a DOS application (wow, I'm really dating myself!). It has always been straight-forward with a clean, intuitive GUI. My students (college undergraduate geology majors) have always become reasonable proficient with it in a single lab session. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

I generally prefer Surfer's contouring to that ArcGIS so I like to contour equipotential lines, export as a shapefile to ArcGIS. On my version of Surfer (9), the table contour values are not transferred. Perhaps this has been corrected on the latest version but manual entering of contour values is tedious. Again, I don't have the latest version but I would like to see more ease of use with the vector drawing feature. It would be nice if a vector diagram could be made directly from a grid of potential values (e.g., hydraulic head). Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If your looking for an easy-to-use product for contouring randomly spaced or gridded data from field measurements or model output, this is a great product. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Very easy to teach students. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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UO
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2 on behalf of the seller
What do you like best?

I use Surfer since 1989, mostly for regional works, gridding and mapping with faults, putting in the same window the topography and above it the geology, moreover culture information, rivers, etc. all in 3D. Frequently I crop the grids and show images or contours over them. Now I use the grid editor very frequently and I am very happy with it. I am very pleasant with the capabilities of the Surfer for my job and I can present the products in a very professionally manner. Recently Surfer improved a lot with the possibility of using all of the cores of your computer, it is great at all. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Actually I have nothing to dislike about Surfer Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I highly recommend Surfer for the purposes of integrating all kind of information and presenting it in a very professional manner with not highly hardware needs at all. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Present the maps and products in 3D to facilitate understand the ideas we are trying show to other geologists and non geologists as well, in a very professional manner with the set of information and detail as complete as is required with a very efficient hardware needs. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Professor
Higher Education
Enterprise(> 1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from the seller
What do you like best?

Excellent for complex mapping analysis, and superb in automation on a variety of platforms. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Surfer does not respect the measuring system of the user by default. Minimally it should respect the measuring system that is set in Windows. Only 3 countries in the world still do not use the metric system, but Surfer, by default, starts with "inches". Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Surfer is the best in the field. I´ve tryed others, no comparison. It is expensive, but it is excellent. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Environmental hydrodynamic modeling. Surfer is the main tool to presents complex maps of flows in natural water bodies and transport of various types of scalar quantities, such as concentrations. For exemples see www.sisbahia.coppe.ufrj.br Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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President
Oil & Energy
Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2 on behalf of the seller
What do you like best?

The use of Golden Software products increases the quality and clarity of my reports and presentations. Their software is at the top of the class because it is continually updated based on user input. Plus, when I have a problem, in a matter of minutes, I can get friendly service from a competent professional on the phone. Their level of support is unmatched and greatly appreciated! Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

There is really nothing I dislike about Golden Software products. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

As a Consultant my reports and presentations have to be the best. So I use the Best software available. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from G2 on behalf of the seller
What do you like best?

1) Range of options to produce grids

2) Mapping and digitizing Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Would like more flexibility in editing grids. Such as a node selection and export tools. Would be great to digitize or import a polygon which would then extract grid nodes within or outside of polygon and/or complete a numerical operation on the selected nodes within or outside of a region or multiple regions. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Learn how different gridding methods can influence the resulting grid and learn to choose parameters appropriately. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Visualisation of spatial and temporal variations in water level and topography. Has improved out ability to adapt to changes and to predict future changes enabling relevant forward planning. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Small-Business(50 or fewer emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from the seller
What do you like best?

I can make presentation or publication quality plots in much less time than Matlab

I have used Surfer (and Grapher) for more than 25 years now. I have also used it in teaching. It is easy for the students to use and has saved me tons of time with my research, letting me focus on the science and not the presentation, which is easy with Surfer. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

It would be awesome if you could access binary files like netcdf through Surfer and/or Grapher Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am in acedemia. I use surfer for research. It has saved me tons of time and the figures look great,. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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Response from Kari Dickenson of Surfer

Thank you for your review! We are happy to hear your positive comments. I wanted to let you know that Surfer can import netCDF files and can use them like any other grid file. This functionality has been included since Surfer version 12. In the Open Grid dialog, change the "Files of type" to "NetCDF Network Common Data Form" to select the file. Thanks again!

Mid-Market(51-1000 emp.)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review source: Invitation from the seller
What do you like best?

Rapid growth of new feature set based on my feedback. Very good beta testing process using forum. Before each major release I get the comprehensive report on my suggested features and current status of its implementation. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What do you dislike?

Quite frequent release of major updates that require paying additional amounts almost every year. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Surfer is a must-have tool in a toolbox of a geoscientist. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

1) Preparing a comprehensive datasets for petroleum system and basing modeling.

2) Preparing the digital elevation and bathymetry models of engineering constructions and freshwater reservoirs.

3) Planning outdoor activity using GPS tracking. Review collected by and hosted on G2.com.

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