QGIS vs. Surfer

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
QGIS
Score 8.7 out of 10
N/A
QGIS (formerly Quantum GIS) is a free and open source geographic information system.N/A
Surfer
Score 9.0 out of 10
N/A
Surfer is a data visualization suite from Golden Software in Colorado for oil and gas companies, or other entities in other industries requiring geological or environmental data.N/A
Pricing
QGISSurfer
Editions & Modules
QGIS
Free
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
QGISSurfer
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
YesNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Best Alternatives
QGISSurfer
Small Businesses
ArcGIS
ArcGIS
Score 9.0 out of 10

No answers on this topic

Medium-sized Companies
ArcGIS
ArcGIS
Score 9.0 out of 10

No answers on this topic

Enterprises
ArcGIS
ArcGIS
Score 9.0 out of 10

No answers on this topic

All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
QGISSurfer
Likelihood to Recommend
9.7
(12 ratings)
9.5
(2 ratings)
Usability
8.0
(1 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Support Rating
8.0
(2 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
User Testimonials
QGISSurfer
Likelihood to Recommend
Open Source
Well suited:
  • To build beautiful and dynamic maps quickly.
  • To conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses.
  • To work cross-platform, as both the Windows version and the Linux version are identical in appearance and available resources.
Less appropriate:
  • To use and import files from proprietary software such as ArcGIS and AutoCAD.
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Golden Software
Surfer has been excellent for us, a small company, to process the electrical resistivity, refraction microtremor, and MASW data collected in the field. There are an increasing number of programs capable of assisting in this geophysical analysis but Surfer is the most advanced. The ability to create both 2D and 3D figures in the program while managing data is a huge help. It also greatly improved report quality and helped clients better understand what the results were for a study.
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Pros
Open Source
  • Styling: the styling engine is fantastic with raster styling features that I recognize from apps like Photoshop.
  • Print layouts: I can set up custom print layouts, and even do automated multi-page atlas style reports that I use for cycling through detailed areas when providing my clients with pdf reports.
  • Extendable: the plugins are fantastic, and almost anything I need that isn't provided natively with QGIS is available as a plugin.
  • Community: the QGIS community is passionate about GIS, and are always ready to help. There are great training resources available online.
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Golden Software
  • The interface is simple and easy/quick to learn, so that not much experience is needed to start generating maps.
  • The map layouts are easy to manipulate, change colors, scale, labels, contour interval, etc...
  • Simple but functional mathematical and logical functions allow for the calculation and manipulation of grids.
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Cons
Open Source
  • Making maps in QGIS is a bit clunky. I also find it to be extremely unintuitive. For basic GIS, it is great, but I would much rather make maps (for publication purposes) in ArcGIS.
  • Editing and adding feature layers is not very intuitive. Changing colors of added point or line features is a rather convoluted process.
  • ArcGIS has a huge selection of online courses, and if you have the appropriate license, you can access most for free. I found these to be very helpful when dealing with map projections and other issues. However, QGIS does not have a large library of courses specifically made for that program.
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Golden Software
  • The user interface can be tricky at first. It's a little rough around the edges and takes a little time to get the hang of.
  • Not an ideal application for older employees. There are too many things with the interface that make it not worthwhile to train employees with less computer experience.
  • Manipulating data within Surfer is difficult because you have to do things in a certain order. Not terrible if you get the hang of it but certainly frustrating at first.
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Usability
Open Source
I wasn't a GIS user at all when I started using QGIS, nor did I have any background working with data in anything other than Excel, and as a result, I struggled quite a lot in the beginning (it's not quite Google Maps). But having said that, I haven't come across anything that I couldn't do with a little help from the online community. I've done complex spatial analyses on large datasets of metropolitan cities, designed custom multi-page pdf reports that automatically cycle through different areas of an area, etc.
And the GIS staff that I've appointed, after their initial resistance, took to the tool like a fish to water, and I haven't heard them complain after starting to use the tool for a week or two.
But if you're new to GIS, be patient and invest some time to learn how to use the tool. It is absolutely worth it.
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Golden Software
No answers on this topic
Support Rating
Open Source
Even though there is a no dedicated support team for QGIS (or at least we are not aware of it), there is a huge online community and a large number of forums catering to every question you may have regarding any particular functionality of QGIS. So, you have a lot of help available but you will have to sift through it on the web.
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Golden Software
No answers on this topic
Alternatives Considered
Open Source
QGIS is open source and freely available for Windows and Mac iOS Geographic Information System Software. QGIS is highly customizable as per project requirements and different application usage. QGIS has ample tools and plugins that are useful for the analysis of raster and vector data. It also supports GRASS, GDAL, and SAGA tools.
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Golden Software
Surfer is very unique with respect to its capabilities. I am not aware of any other mapping software that is at the same time flexible, has a friendly interface, and creates such nice-looking maps.
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Return on Investment
Open Source
  • QGIS gives us more impactful data on children and maternal health issues, which in turn has helped us establish more programs, relationships, and funding opportunities because of the excellent data presentations we can give.
  • QGIS has allowed our staff to improve their data analysis skills, improving our workforce across the board, with or without the direct use of geographic data.
  • QGIS has required a lot of staff time to learn, but the ROI on time spent vs the reports we produced afterward has been well worth it.
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Golden Software
  • The worst thing about Surfer is the cost. My company can only afford one license at the moment which means only one employee gets to use it regularly. Not so great when someone is sick or you have a huge wave of projects.
  • The user interface is a little rough but younger employees have been great at catching on quickly and producing great images.
  • There's nothing else quite like Surfer. It's versatile and not to difficult to use so, though the licenses are expensive, it is an excellent program that has done wonders for our company!
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ScreenShots