The GRASS GIS Development team has announced the release of the new major version GRASS GIS 7.0.0. This version provides many new functionalities including spatio-temporal database support, image segmentation, estimation of evapotranspiration and emissivity from satellite imagery, automatic line vertex densification during reprojection, more LIDAR support and a strongly improved graphical user interface experience. GRASS GIS 7.0.0 also offers significantly ...Read More »
Today the Free Software community celebrates the 30th birthday of GRASS GIS! GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) is a free and open source Geographic Information System (GIS) software suite used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics and map production, spatial modeling, and 3D visualization. GRASS GIS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies. GRASS GIS can be used either as a stand-alone application or as backend for other software packages such as QGIS and R geostatistics. It is a founding member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and can be freely downloaded.
In 1982, Lloyd Van Warren, a University of Illinois engineering student, began development on a new computer program based on a master's thesis by Jim Westervelt that described a GIS package called LAGRID – the Landscape Architecture Gridcell analysis system. Thirty years ago, on 29 July 1983, the user manual for this new system titled "GIS Version 1 Reference Manual" was first published by J. Westervelt and M. O'Shea. The software continued its development at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (USA/CERL) in Champaign, Illinois; and after further expansion version 1.0 was released in 1985 under the name Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS). The GRASS GIS community was established the same year with the first annual user meeting and the launch of GRASSnet, one of the internet's early mailing lists. The user community expanded to a larger audience in 1991 with the "Grasshopper" mailing list and the introduction of the World Wide Web. The users' and programmers' mailing lists archives for these early years are still available online.
In the mid 1990s the development transferred from USA/CERL to The Open GRASS Consortium (a group who would later generalize to become today's Open Geospatial Consortium -- the OGC). The project coordination eventually shifted to the actual international development team made up of governmental and academic researchers and university scientists. Reflecting this shift to a project run by the users, for the users, in 1999 GRASS GIS was released the first time under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). A detailed history of GRASS GIS can be found.
Since these early days GRASS development has progressed and grown, adjusting with and often at the forefront of new technologies as they became available. Today GRASS's software development is maintained by a team of domain experts as visualized in this beautiful new video animation which stylistically details the codebase evolution and modifications from 1999 through to, up to and including the latest GRASS GIS 6.4.3 stable release.
30 years of active growth: where are we now?
Recent versions of GRASS GIS come with exciting new features like:
- A new modern graphical user interface complete with integrated workflow-wizards and interactive tools,
- A new Python interface to the core C geoprocessing libraries, permitting Python developers to create powerful new modules in a quick and simple way,
- Fully-fledged topological vector support for editing and tools for topological analysis and data cleaning,
- Hundreds of new modules to analyze raster and vector data of all scales and types, with hundreds more contributed in an active community repository,
- Support for massive data processing (e.g. relevant for LiDAR processing) and Large File Support (> 2GB, 64-bit files on 32-bit systems),
- A codebase portable to all of today's major Operating Systems,
- Installed on everything from low-power dataloggers and field laptops to high performance Grid Engines and TOP500 supercomputers.
GRASS GIS is currently developed by a global team of around twenty core programmers, plus numerous add-on contributors, testers, and translators. Overall, more than seventy core developers have worked on the code in the past thirty years, making over fifty-thousand modifications to the code. All the while, hundreds more have provided peer review and improvements to algorithms and documentation while using GRASS GIS in professional, educational, and research contexts.
Where to next?
Development on GRASS GIS continues with as much energy and interest as ever. Version 6.4.3 has been released as a birthday present. Parallel to the long-term maintenance of the GRASS 6 stable series, effort is well underway on the new cutting-edge major release, GRASS GIS 7, bringing with it many new features, modules, enhancements, and cleanups. As in the past, the GRASS GIS community is open to any contribution, be it in the form of programming, documentation, testing, financial sponsorship or any other form of support.
M. Neteler (GRASS GIS PSC Chair) and GRASS Development Team
GRASS GIS 6.4.2 released
We are pleased to announce the release of a new stable version of GRASS GIS. This release fixes bugs discovered in version 6.4.1 of the program and adds a number of new features. This release includes over 760 updates to the source code since 6.4.1. As a stable release series, the 6.4 line will enjoy long-term support and incremental enhancements while preserving backwards-compatibility with the entire GRASS 6 line.
The new wxPython graphical user interface (wxGUI) has been updated with many new features and tools. Python is now a fully supported scripting language, including an updated Python toolkit to simplify the authoring of personal scripts, support for NumPy based array calculations, and a Python application interface for the GRASS C libraries. Additionally, MS-Windows support continues to mature. GRASS 6.4.2 debuts ten new modules, a new GUI cartographic composer tool, a new GUI object-oriented modeling environment, and improved infrastructure for installing community supplied add-on modules.
About GRASS GIS
The Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, commonly referred to as GRASS, is an Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) and geospatial analysis toolkit. For nearly three decades, GRASS has provided powerful raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines in a single integrated software suite. GRASS includes tools for spatial modeling of raster and vector data, visualization, the management and analysis of geospatial information, and the processing of satellite and aerial imagery. It also provides the capability to produce sophisticated presentation graphics and publication-quality hardcopy maps. GRASS has now been translated into twenty languages and supports an extensive array of data formats. It is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
GRASS differs from many other GIS software packages used in the academic and professional worlds in that it is developed and distributed by users for users, mostly on a volunteer basis. Its code and spatial processing algorithms are open and transparent, and the software is distributed free of charge. The source code is also freely available, allowing for immediate customization, examination of the underlying algorithms, the addition of new features, and faster identification and patching of bugs.
The GRASS Community is pleased to announce the results of the first GRASS Community Sprint, that took place at the Faculty of Civil Engineering - Czech Technical University in Prague, from 20 to 25 May. The Community Sprint has been a successful event, thanks to both the perfect organization by the hosting structure, which provided location and technical supervision, and the sponsors, which kindly financed the greater part of the developer's needs during the event. In particular, Martin Landa and professor Aleš Čepek are gratefully acknowledged for the organization, and the sponsors GFOSS.it (Associazione Italiana per l'Informazione Geografica Libera, Italy), R3 GIS (Merano, Italy), FOSSGIS e.V. (German-language OSGeo local chapter), and Sylla-consult (Frankfurt, Germany) for their sponsoring of the event. The participants came from Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United States, including several long-term core developers, new developers, students, researchers, and even newcomers. The work has been focused on wxGUI improvements, GRASS7 internals (improved vector topology engine, library access from other programs), translations, implementation of new modules (r.threshold, v.pack, v.unpack) and bugfixing. Developers also had discussions on broad topics like GRASS GIS usage in cloud and cluster computing, Web processing services, toolboxes, integration of time dimension to make GRASS a true temporal GIS, and the design of a comprehensive test suite. Among the participants there were three of the four Google Summer of Code students, two mentors, several co-mentors and the OSGeo GSoC administrator. Students started working on their projects, and received live guidance from their mentors and from the attending experienced developers. The sprint welcomed also the integration with other software, like QGIS and JGrass, thanks to the presence of some main developers of these respective programs who showed interest in the "integration" topic. For more information, please visit these pages:
About GRASS GISThe Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, commonly referred to as GRASS, is an Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) providing powerful raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines in a single integrated software suite. GRASS includes tools for spatial modeling, visualization of raster and vector data, management and analysis of geospatial data, and the processing of satellite and aerial imagery. It also provides the capability to produce sophisticated presentation graphics and hardcopy maps. GRASS has now been translated into twenty languages and supports a huge array of data formats. It is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
GRASS Development Team Read More »
The GRASS Development Team announced the release of GRASS GIS 6.4.0, the first in the new line of 6.4 stable releases. As a stable release 6.4 will enjoy long-term support. The next release (6.4.1) will introduce a few new features which are still undergoing final testing, but after that all further 6.4 releases will be bugfix-only.
- Screenshots of GRASS in action
What's new in GRASS 6.4.0
(selected improvements from the nearly 9,000 updates to the source code)Read More »