Circum-North Pacific Map (CD-ROM): SurView (general)
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a viewing application for Microsoft® WindowsTM
Geophysical, geochemical & geological data sets

John A. Grant
Airborne Geophysics Section
Mineral Resources Division
Geological Survey of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

July 16, 1997

Table of Contents

  1. I really don't want to read all of this stuff!
  2. Introduction to SurView
  3. SurView system requirements
  4. SurView installation
  5. SurView de-installation
  6. Data file installation (Optional)
  7. Using SurView
  8. Printer limitations


  1. Troubleshooting
  2. 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:

  1. You need a PC with almost any version of Microsoft® Windows™ (3.x, '95, NT)

  2. 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.

  3. 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 operation.

  4. Create an icon or shortcut for SURVIEW.EXE (optional)

  5. 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 directly.

  6. Scan Section 7 below to get an idea of what you can do with SurView.

  7. If you have problems, read the rest of this file.

  8. This file is a generic introduction to SurView. Additional documentation on the specific files on this CD-ROM can be found in SURVIEW2.HTM.

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 most systems.

It is assumed that the user of SurView is familiar with the operation of Microsoft Windows, including:

Consult your Windows manual for further information on these and other general topics.

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 application:


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 .INI files.

  1. 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 files.

    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.

  2. Install CTL3DV2.DLL
    Microsoft's CTL3DV2.DLL provides the 3D visual effects in SurView's dialog boxes and is approximately 22 kb in size:

    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.

  3. Run SurView to Set the File Association

    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).

  4. 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

  1. 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 terminate SurView.

  2. If you installed SurView on your hard disk, delete the entire ...\SURVIEW directory (primarily the SURVIEW.EXE and SURVIEW.HLP files).

  3. SurView may have created a SURVIEW.CFG file in your ...\WINDOWS directory: delete it.

  4. Do not delete the CTL3DV2.DLL file from your ...\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory - other applications use this file.

  5. 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:

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 provided.

What Can I Do With SurView and this Data Set?

  1. 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.

  2. 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 Display List.

  3. 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).

  4. 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!.

  5. 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).

  6. For .BOB files, you can enable/disable plotting various combinations of lines, points, polygons, and symbols:

  7. 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.).

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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:

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.
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