Circum-North Pacific Map (CD-ROM): SurView (general)
a viewing application for Microsoft® WindowsTM
Geophysical, geochemical & geological data sets
John A. Grant
Airborne Geophysics Section
Mineral Resources Division
Geological Survey of Canada
July 16, 1997
Table of Contents
- I really don't want to read all of this stuff!
- Introduction to SurView
- SurView system requirements
- SurView installation
- SurView de-installation
- Data file installation (Optional)
- Using SurView
- Printer limitations
- Some Common SurView File Types
1. I really don't want to read all of this stuff!
Ok, I can understand that: here's the quick overview:
- You need a PC with almost any version of Microsoft®
Windows™ (3.x, '95, NT)
- You can run SurView directly from the CD-ROM, but if you want to
install it on your hard drive for convenience, simply drag
& drop the ...\SURVIEW directory to the location of your choice
on your hard drive.
- If you are NOT using Windows '95 or NT 4.x, you need CTL3DV2.DLL
to make it look pretty. Drag & drop the ...\SURVIEW\CTL3DV2.DLL
file into your ...\WINDOWS\SYSTEM (or ...\WINDOWS directory if
...\WINDOWS\SYSTEM is on a write-protected network drive). If a
newer version already exists (Windows will tell you) - cancel the
- Create an icon or shortcut for SURVIEW.EXE
- Run SurView and select 'File Association' from the
[-] system menu in the extreme upper left. Click Add,
wait a minute until it's done and click Ok. This allows you to
double click any of the 6 SurView file types to launch SurView
- Scan Section 7 below to get an idea
of what you can do with SurView.
- If you have problems, read the rest of this file.
- This file is a generic introduction to SurView. Additional
documentation on the specific files on this CD-ROM can be found
2. Introduction to SurView
SurView (SURvey VIEWer) is a graphics application designed for Microsoft
Windows 3.x. It also runs on Microsoft Windows '95 and NT or equivalent
emulation on other platforms (if available). It was originally created
to view multivariable airborne gamma ray survey data (flight lines, profile
maps, stacked profiles, and grid files). As the application evolved,
generalized support for polygons, text, and symbols was added to make
it more complete, thus providing facilities for displaying lakes, rivers,
geology, and point data (for geochemistry).
Despite the proliferation of features, SurView remains primarily an
application for viewing geophysical, geological, and geochemical
data files interactively and is not intended to be used as a map
composition tool for the creation of 'finished' high quality maps suitable
for publication. However, SurView can print very nice maps on any of the
hundreds of printers supported by Microsoft Windows. As a Microsoft Windows
application, SurView enjoys most of the features and benefits of all Windows
applications. Complete SurView documentation is provided in a .HLP file
driven by the Windows WinHelp help engine.
The copy of SurView which has been provided on this CD-ROM is a
limited version which can only display the files provided: the
data importing Tools have been disabled. The full-featured version
is available separately from the Geological Survey of Canada Bookstore as
Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 2661. This information also
appears in the Help | About SurView menu item.
3. SurView System Requirements
SurView requires a PC with at least an 80386 processor running Microsoft
Windows 3.x (or equivalent emulation), Windows NT or Windows '95. A math
co-processor is not required, but is highly recommended (math co-processors
are embedded in all 80486 and up processors). SurView uses relatively
little memory and has no specific memory requirements: it should run on
It is assumed that the user of SurView is familiar with the operation of
Microsoft Windows, including:
- use of the mouse and keyboard in Windows
- File Manager or Explorer
- the Windows clipboard
- Windows File Association
- Windows printer installation, setup, and selection
Consult your Windows manual for further information on these and other
4. SurView installation
Tip: Installing Files
The simplest way to copy application or data files from the CD-ROM to
your own drive is to use the Windows File Manager or Explorer
application: just 'drag & drop' or 'copy & paste'. Consult your
Windows manual for further details.
The SurView directory (consult the 'roadmap' for this CD-ROM for the exact
location) contains the following primary files associated with the SurView
- *.RGB (palette files for .GRX grid/image files)
- SYSTEM\CTL3DV2.DLL (3D appearance for dialog boxes - not used
for Windows '95)
Before you start, you will be pleased to know that, unlike most Windows
applications, the installation of SurView is a trivial exercise and has
minimal impact on your system in terms of files and does not modify your
- Install SurView
You may run SurView directly from the CD-ROM or you may install the
program files on your hard disk for convenience (so you can run
SurView without the CD-ROM). Approximately 1 Mb of disk
space is required for SurView: the primary files are SURVIEW.EXE and
SURVIEW.HLP. If the data set includes any .GRX (grid/image) files,
the SurView directory will also contain a set of small *.RGB palette
If you wish to install SurView on your hard disk, simply
drag & drop the entire ...\SURVIEW directory from the
CD-ROM to any convenient location on your hard-disk. For example,
any of the following directories is a reasonable choice, but feel
free to put it anywhere, i.e.:
You may then create an icon (File | New in File Manager) or a
Windows '95 'shortcut' (right click on the desktop) to run the
SURVIEW.EXE application. Consult your Windows manual if you are
not familiar with this procedure.
- Install CTL3DV2.DLL
Microsoft's CTL3DV2.DLL provides the 3D visual effects in SurView's
dialog boxes and is approximately 22 kb in size:
- Windows '95
If you are using Windows '95 or Windows NT 4.0 or a later
version, you do NOT need to install CTL3DV2.DLL and can skip
- Windows 3.x & Windows NT 3.5x
The CTL3DV2.DLL file must be placed in your
...\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory, regardless of whether you are
running SurView from the CD-ROM or from your hard disk.
Use File Manager or Explorer to drag CTL3DV2.DLL from the
...\SURVIEW\SYSTEM directory (located below SURVIEW.EXE) and drop
it into your ...\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory. If you are running
Windows from a network drive, you may not have access to this
Windows 'system' directory, in which case, install the file in
your ...\WINDOWS directory. Do not use the DOS COPY command
to perform this operation: a newer version of CTL3DV2.DLL file may
be over-written without warning.
If the file already exists, File Manager will display the size,
date, and time of both files and prompt 'Confirm File Replace'.
You should cancel the operation if the existing CTL3DV2.DLL
file is more recent than the CTL3DV2.DLL file from the CD-ROM.
- Run SurView to Set the File Association
Windows allows data files to be 'run' (i.e. with Program Manager's
File | Run, or by double-clicking them in File
Manager/Explorer or by attaching them to icons or Windows '95
'shortcuts' which can be double-clicked). However, this requires
that the files be 'associated' with a particular application so that
Windows knows where to find the .EXE file. SurView registers the
'File Association' for 6 file types (.BOB, .GRX, .SLD, .BLC, .ASX,
and .FDL). Subsequently, any of the SurView files can be 'run'
with the above methods. This 'association' procedure writes entries
into the Windows registration database.
Whether you have copied SURVIEW.EXE to your hard disk or whether you
have decided to leave it on the CD-ROM, you should now run
SurView to set these file associations - either double-click
SURVIEW.EXE from File Manager or using Program Manager's File |
Run command) or use the icon/shortcut that you have created.
This only needs to be done once. Click the [-] 'system
menu' (or SurView icon in Windows '95) in the extreme upper left
corner of SurView's window and select 'File Association'. The
dialog box will show blank entries for the 6 file types. Click
'Add' to add new entries to the registration database. A
moment later, the new entries will be displayed. Close the dialog
box by clicking 'Ok'. The File Association has now been 'set'. SurView can then be
terminated with no further interaction or you can continue and select
files for viewing with File | File Display List.
If you move SURVIEW.EXE after the File Association has
been done, you will need to reset the File Association settings
from this same dialog box so that Windows will know where to find
SURVIEW.EXE at its new location. Simply click 'Remove' to
remove the existing entries and then click 'Add' to add
entries for the current location of SURVIEW.EXE. This is also
described below in the section on 'SurView de-installation'.
Once the File Association has been done, File Manager/Explorer
will draw a different icon for the associated files, indicating that
they are 'executable' (by double-clicking them).
- Adjust for Monitor Size
SurView needs to know your monitor size and most of the time Windows
makes a good guess on the size (the information is not stored anywhere).
However, if SurView's picture does not fill the entire drawing area
of the window, leaving margins at the top and right, you will need to
make a one-time adjustment for the monitor that you are using. See
the 'Troubleshooting' section for details.
5. SurView de-installation
- Run SurView one last time and bring up the File Association dialog
box (as described above). Click 'Remove' to remove the six
entries from the Windows registration database. You can then
- If you installed SurView on your hard disk, delete the entire
...\SURVIEW directory (primarily the SURVIEW.EXE and SURVIEW.HLP files).
- SurView may have created a SURVIEW.CFG file in your ...\WINDOWS
directory: delete it.
- Do not delete the CTL3DV2.DLL file from your ...\WINDOWS\SYSTEM
directory - other applications use this file.
- From Program Manager, delete any groups, icons or shortcuts that you
created for SurView.
SurView has now been completely removed from your system.
6. Data File Installation (Optional)
SurView is quite efficient and can read and display the files directly
from the CD-ROM, so installation of the data files (copying to your hard
disk is not required). However, if you wish to install the data files on
your hard disk (perhaps for greater drawing speed if your CD-ROM drive is
slow), create a directory (any name, any location) and copy the data file(s)
to it using File Manager or Explorer.
You can change the colours and styles of the data files for display
purposes, but you can not update the files if they reside on CD-ROM,
as the CD-ROM medium is read-only. This restriction might be a good
reason for copying the files to your hard drive, depending on your needs.
However, each of the files on the CD-ROM has a 'read-only' attribute
that remains attached to the file, even if it is copied to your hard drive.
You will need to remove this attribute from each file that you copy to your
hard drive, using File | Properties in Windows File Manager (or the
DOS ATTRIB command) or you will not be able to modify the files (i.e. change
the display colours or styles).
Appendix B contains brief descriptions of some of
SurView's file types. When moving these files (for any reason), keep in mind
the following restrictions:
- .FDL files:
These small ASCII files contain the names of other data files,
allowing a group of files to be selected for viewing by selecting
a single .FDL file. SurView assumes that the data files whose names
are in the .FDL file reside in the same directory as the .FDL file.
If they are located elsewhere, you must edit the .FDL files to change
the filenames to fully-qualified pathnames (drive, directory, filename
and extension). SurView always requires the filename extension (.BOB,
.GRX, etc.) to determine the file type.
Note that using a complete pathname in an .FDL file allows you to
create other .FDL files (on your hard disk), containing the
pathnames of your favourite combination of the primary data files
(which can remain on the CD-ROM). For example, you might create a
c:\XXX.FDL file containing references to several files on CD-ROM
All you need to do then is put the CD-ROM in drive D: and click
the c:\XXX.FDL file to view all of those files.
- .ASX files:
ASX files contain the filename of a binary .SHP file (i.e. XXX.SHP),
the filename of an attributes file (i.e. XXX.DBF) and the filename
of a 'theme' or 'lookup table' file (probably a .DBF file, but it
could be any name). If these files are not in the same directory
as the XXX.ASX file, the simple filenames in the .ASX file must be
replaced with fully qualified pathnames.
- .GRX files:
GRX files contain the filename of a binary grid file (i.e. XXX.BIL)
and the filename of a corresponding colour palette file (i.e.
XXX.RGB or XXX.CMY). If these files are not in the same directory
as the XXX.GRX file, the simple filenames in the .GRX file must be
replaced with fully qualified pathnames. If the .RGB or .CMY files
reside in the ...\SURVIEW directory (which is common), full pathnames
are not required, since SurView knows where to find them.
7. Using SurView
SurView has a comprehensive Windows interactive help file (SURVIEW.HLP).
This section summarizes some of the things you can do with the data set
What Can I Do With SurView and this Data Set?
- You can display various combinations of the files, either by
selecting .FDL files (containing names of other files) or by
choosing individual .BOB, .GRX, or .ASX files manually. You may
wish to create FDL files containing some of your favourite
combinations of files and attach them to icons for easy access.
- Use the <ESC> key to quit drawing the current file
(layer). If you have selected several files to display (perhaps
from a prepared FDL file), it may take a while to draw the complete
set of files. You don't have to wait for SurView to draw the entire
picture - just use the <ESC> key to skip the current
file (layer) and SurView will move on to the next file in the File
- You can zoom and pan on the map. When you enter zoom/pan
mode, use the left button to toggle the selection rectangle
between zoom and pan modes and move it around with the mouse. Once
you have selected the area to view, use the right button to
select it. When you print, SurView prints the current 'view' of the
data (possibly zoomed).
- You can use the Edit | Display Attributes menu item to access
line/fill styles and colours for lines, polygons, and symbols.
If geochemistry data is plotted as proportionally scaled symbols,
you can modify the scaling parameters for the symbols as well as the
symbol type and element to be drawn. You can change these attributes,
but you can't save the changes if the file resides on CD-ROM!.
- For .ASX files (polyline/polygon 'shape' files), if several
'themes' or 'views' of the file have been created,
you can choose from a list of these themes (use Edit | Display
Attributes as above), allowing the polygons to be drawn with a
different colour table derived from a different attribute of the
polygon (i.e. perhaps geology can be drawn using 'by age' or
'by rock type' colours).
- For .BOB files, you can enable/disable plotting various
combinations of lines, points, polygons, and symbols:
- If the 'Plot'? checkbox for the line colour is:
- set, the feature is plotted
- clear, the feature is not plotted
- greyed, the feature is plotted, but the outline is not drawn
- If the 'Plot?' checkbox for the fill colour is:
- set, the polygon is filled using the current fill
colour and/or pattern
- clear, the polygon is not filled
- You can display the 'Smart Cursor' (Options), to display the location
of the cursor as it is moved around the map. Select the [-]
system menu of the cursor window to display a list of display modes
(geographic, projected, NTS etc.).
- You can enable/disable the display of .GRX (grid) or .ASX (Arc/Info
SHP) legend windows with the View | Legends menu item. Each
legend window can be resized and placed anywhere on the map.
Re-configure any legend window by right-clicking on the window to
bring up a dialog box of options and parameters.
- You can enable the Options | Use Alternate Language Where
Available menu item. This will generally only be useful with
.ASX files that have been prepared with bilingual legends and
titles. If so, toggling this option will toggle the language used
for the window caption and legend labels.
- You can print the current 'view' of the data set to any
printer supported by Windows, including Postscript printers.
Connect a Postscript printer drive to FILE and you can create a
Postscript file. Note that SurView does not print low-resolution
screen dumps like some applications - it prints the same way that
it draws on the screen.
- You can copy the picture or portion of the picture to the
Windows clipboard and paste it into any Clipboard-enabled
application (word processor, spreadsheet, drawing program). Use the
Edit | Copy to Clipboard menu item.
- You can query polygons, polylines, and points by
'picking' them with the right mouse button, provided
they have been enabled for this action (see description of
files specific to this data set - not all features can be 'picked'). Depending on how the files have been set up, in response to a click, SurView can display a topic in a Windows .HLP file or a record from a .DBF database file. It might even run another application to view a file.
- You can pick a polygon or a polyline or a point
with the right mouse button. If only one of these file types is being
viewed, then the right mouse button will configure itself automatically
to pick the appropriate type of item. However, if you are displaying more
than one of these types of features, then you must use the Pick
menu item to configure the right mouse button for picking one of the three
types of objects and to adjust the pick tolerance (for lines and
points). Note that the pick tolerance for polylines is adjusted
automatically each time the scale of the picture changes (the computed
value is about 1% of the current view width), but you may have to
adjust the value in order to pick a polyline correctly.
- Finally, you can use SurView's interactive help to learn more
about SurView and/or the file formats. The interactive help is easier to
navigate than some help files, because it has been designed to be read
like a book from page 1 to the end (using the << and
>> browse buttons in WinHelp), while retaining all of
the familiar hypertext and keyword search features common to .HLP files.
You won't get lost. Use the Contents topic and/or the
custom menu items (Chapters, File Formats)
to go quickly to the section of your choice.
8. Printer limitations
SurView should not have any problems displaying polylines or polygons
on the screen, since the Windows video drivers seem to be very good.
However, some Windows printer drivers are not as good as most video
drivers. In particular, some printers can not plot very large and/or
complex polygons (with many islands). If you print a map and some large
polygons are missing, this is not a defect in SurView - it is a printer
driver problem. Try to find a newer version of the printer driver:
perhaps it can be downloaded from the manufacturer's Web site.
Appendix A: Troubleshooting
- Problem: I click on a file in File Manager or try to 'run' the
file from Program Manager and Windows says
"No application is associated with this file"
Solution: You must run SurView first in order to register the
SurView file types for File Association. Simply start up SurView, do
the File Association and then terminate it. Click
on the file icon again and SurView should start up with that file in the
File Display List.
In Windows '95 you may be invited to select an application. Do not do
this. Instead, use the procedure described above: it writes 'cleaner'
entries in your Windows registry file.
- Problem: I click on a file in File Manager or try to 'run'
the file from Program Manager and Windows says:
"Cannot find SURVIEW.EXE. This application is required to
run files with extension ..."
Solution: Windows has an incorrect File
Association setting that points to a non-existent SURVIEW.EXE. It is
likely that you have moved SURVIEW.EXE to another location since the
association was initially registered. Windows will provide a dialog box
to ask you to 'Locate' SURVIEW.EXE. Ignore this dialog box (close it) and
follow the procedure to reset the File Association
- Problem: I try to run SurView and I get an error message:
"This application uses CTL3DV2.DLL, which has not been
Then the application runs, but the dialog boxes don't look right.
Solution: CTL3DV2.DLL will not allow itself to be run
from any directory other than ...\windows\system or ...\windows
(for network installations). Either you have not installed
CTL3DV2.DLL in that directory, or Windows is finding another
copy of it first. Delete all versions of CTL3DV2.DLL on your
system, except the copy in ...\windows\system.
In order to allow you to run SurView directly from the CD-ROM,
the CTL3DV2.DLL file has been deliberately placed in a subdirectory
below the directory which contains SURVIEW.EXE. This ensures that
Windows can not find it if you run SurView by double-clicking on
the SURVIEW.EXE file on the CD-ROM from File Manager or by using
Program Manager's File | Run command.
- Problem: SurView does not use the entire drawing area
within the application window to draw the picture.
Solution: Windows does not know the physical size
of your monitor, so it makes a guess, based on the video card
resolution you are using. In some cases (small monitor/high
resolution or large monitor/low resolution), this estimate will
be incorrect and you must make a small adjustment for the monitor
size. Windows '95 makes a better guess at the monitor size because
it has a setting for you to enter your monitor type and size.
Click on the system menu [-] in the extreme upper
left corner of SurView and select 'Adjust for Monitor Size'.
Follow the instructions (click on the centre of the RED cursor
so it moves to the black crosshair location) and click Ok.
When the picture is redrawn, it should now fill the entire window.
This must be done with at least one data file selected: the problem
does not exhibit itself if only the GSC logo is displayed.
This calibration only needs to be done once: the settings are
saved in ...\WINDOWS\SURVIEW.CFG when you close the SurView
application. The interactive help for SurView contains additional
information regarding this adjustment in Section 2.3.8
- Problem: I don't like the grey background colours for
colour tables A, B or C.
Solution: SurView uses three colour tables labelled A, B,
and C. Each .BOB file contains the line/fill colours/styles for
all three tables for its own polygons. SurView also has
background colours for each of the three colour tables
(default: all grey), but these are independent of the contents
of the files and so are maintained in the SURVIEW.CFG file in
the ...\WINDOWS directory. A well-behaved Windows application
should normally use the user's preferred background and text
colours (as set in Control Panel), but for SurView, (as a mapping
application) the background colour is more closely tied to the
colours in the data files, than to the text colour.
To change the colours for the three tables, start up SurView
and choose Edit | Display Attributes and select
'Other' (if the File Display List is empty, 'Other' will be
automatically selected). For each of the three columns of style
buttons, click the button at the top of the column (labelled A, B,
and C) and then select a colour from the palette. Click the
Ok button in the dialog box when you are done. When you
terminate SurView, you will be asked 'Save changes?'. Click 'Yes'
and SurView will save the values in ...\WINDOWS\SURVIEW.CFG.
Subsequently, when you start up SurView, the background colours
for the three tables will be as you have defined them.
Note: You don't have to choose a boring, harsh white
background just because that is best for printing. The background
colour is only used for the screen display and is not printed
(unless you specifically request that the background colour be
printed by selecting the option in the printing dialog box).
Appendix B: Some common SurView file types
Complete detailed descriptions (for the curious) of all SurView file
formats are contained in the interactive documentation for SurView.
Some of the principal file types you will encounter are:
- .BOB Binary OBject data files
These are primary data files, containing co-ordinates and
display attributes for a variety of combinations of polyline,
polygon, point, and text data.
- .ASX Arc/Info Shape File Specification
These are simple ASCII files which contain a list of options and
display attributes for viewing a binary Arc/Info .SHP 'shape' file.
- .GRX Grid Specification
These are simple ASCII files which contain a list of options
and display attributes for viewing a binary grid or image file.
- .FDL File Display List
These are simple ASCII files which contain lists of other data
files, allowing a set of files to be selected for viewing as a
Comments and questions regarding SurView may be directed to the author.
Feel free to discuss the use of SurView with me at any time (questions?
bugs?) via telephone or e-mail.
John A. Grant
Geological Survey of Canada
Mineral Resources Division
Airborne Geophysics Section
601 Booth St., Room 591
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0E8
(613) 992-1082 (Voice)
(613) 996-3726 (FAX)
Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.