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This wiki page is initially for organizing the writing of a GRASS entry for the "Springer Encyclopedia of GIS", in future this wiki page will contain the article itself.

The entry structure

The Structure of the entry is given by springer. I received a .tex file which I fill with the text when this text is reviewd by the community (and my wife because she's an english teacher :-)).



  • Who owns the copyright for the article? Springer? The author(s)?

The Contract says: The author hereby grants and assigns to Springer- Verlag the sole right to publish, distribute and sell... the contribution and parts thereof...

Springer verlag will take ... either in his own name or in that of the author any necessary steps to protect these rights against infringement by third parties. It will have the copyright notice inserted into all editions of the work according to the provisions of the Universal Copyright Convention and dutifully take care of all formalities in this connections, either in its own name or in that of the author.

  • Should the article be wholly original or can it be derived (cut and pasted) from existing GRASS texts (e.g. the GRASS logo; website content)?

I supose we should write something new and shouldn't cut & paste because of the following point.

  • If cut&pasted, does that put the existing GRASS website text etc at risk? (let's avoid a Eric Weisstein's MathWorld vs. CRC Press style nightmare [1])

see above

  • Can we reuse the text? (e.g. publish it here on the wiki or as an article in a future GRASSNews newsletter)

I will ask the people at springer

What needs to be done?

The deadline is something about 'late december, after Christmas'

the entry should be 8-12 pages - here is an example: http://refworks.springer.com/mrw/fileadmin/pdf/GIS/VoronoiEncy

Here is some additional information: http://refworks.springer.com/geograph/

Here are the templates: http://refworks.springer.com/geograph/

And here is a list of other entries (as of 2006-11-21) http://www.carto.net/neumann/temp/gis_encyclopedia_toc.pdf

The Entry

  • screenshots needed? if so, how many?




Malte Halbey-Martin, Inst. for Geogr. Sciences, Free University Berlin, Germany

Please put your name here when you have written something


Geographic Resources Analysis Support Software, GRASS- GIS (Geographic Information System)

Definition (fewer than 250 words)

GRASS- GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support Software) is a GIS- software for geospatial analysis and modelling which has the capability to manage raster and vectordata. Additionally it supports three dimensional modelling with 3D raster voxel or 3D vector data and contains several image processing modules to manipulate remote sensing data. It comes along with visualisation tools and interacts with other related software packages e. g. R- language, gstat and Quantum GIS. GRASS supports a variety of GIS formats due to the usage of the GDAL/OGR library. It also supports the OGC- conformal Simple Features.It can connect to databases via ODBC and supports spatial databases like PostGIS. GRASS datasets can be published on the internet with the UMN Mapserver.

The software is published under the conditions of the GNU Public Licence (GPL) so anyone can see the source code, the internal structure of the program and the algorithms which are used. Every user can improve, modify, or extend GRASS for his own needs. A striking advantage of the program is that no licence fees have to be paid because of the terms of the GPL. Programmers all over the world contribute to the software. It is one of the biggest Open Source projects in the world (more than one million lines of source code). GRASS runs on a variety of platforms like GNU/Linux, MS- Windows, MacOS X and POSIX compliant systems. It is completly written in C although a Java version also exist (JGRASS).

Historical Background (fewer than 500 words)

Can we cite sections of the "GRASS Roots" document? (forgot the authors...), good summary of GRASS history.

Just working on that. a little rough, wrote it last night in the train after a hard day

The History of GRASS reaches back until the early eighties. Initially GRASS was developed by the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), Champaign, Illinois since 1982 due to the need of new landmanagement and environmental planing tools for military installations. The emphasis was taken on raster analyses and image processing, because the scope of the analyses were to estimate the impact of actions on continous surfaces like elevation or soils. Modules for vector processing were added later.

The first version of GRASS was released in 1984. The source code was completely published on the Internet during the late eighties which brought a significant input into the development of GRASS. The CERL withdrew from GRASS development in 1995. An international developer team overtook this task and in 1997 GRASS 4.2 was published by the Baylor University, Waco Texas, USA and GRASS 4.2.1 from the Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, University of Hannover, Germany in 1999. In 1999 the work at version 5.0 were started and the headquarter of the "GRASS Developer Team" moved to the Instituto Trentino di Cultura (ITC-irst), Trento, Italy. GRASS 5.0 was released in 2002, version 6.0 in March 2005. The current stable version is 6.2 which was released at the end of October 2006.

maybe we should add some mayor step of the development...

see GRASS history page: http://grass.itc.it/devel/grasshist.html

Interoperability: GIS and Anlysis Toolchain

robust interconnections with outside applications, give the user tremendous flexibility

just writing something about that under scientific fundamentals...

Relationanl Database Systems
  • SQLite
  • MySQL
  • PostGIS
Programming and Statistical Analysis
  • Python
  • R
2D and 3D Visualization
  • GMT
  • VTK

Scientific fundamentals

Dunno exactly what I'm going to write here. Maybe something about the structure off the program. Maybe some algorithms which are used and some functions. Model builder and so on...

One distinguishing thing about GRASS versus other GISs is that you are free to explore the source code to study the exact algorithms used.

Key applications

Add applications with citations

GRASS is currently used around the world in academic and commercial settings as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies.

Just some Ideas


  • Benjamin Ducke ?


Environmental Modelling

Geography (Human / Physical)



  • Landscape / landform classification


  • gstat
  • R

Hydrologic Modelling

Landscape epidemiology and public health

Landscape Evolution

Network analysis


Remote Sensing

Soil Science

  • Landscape scale modeling of soil properties

Future directions

Open problems and discussions

  • 3D- Modelling?
    Much of the infrastructure and modules are already in place for both raster, vector, and point data.
  • GUI?
    GRASS will be moving to a new unified GUI for Mac, PC, and UNIX using WxWidgets and Python. Prototype code is already working.
  • Vector network analysis? (route planning, shortest path, etc)
    Much of the infrastructure and modules are already in place, ready for new applications to be developed on top.

Cross References

1. Quantum GIS ?

2. PostGIS?

3. UMN Map Server ?

Recommended Reading (5 - 15 entries)

Aditional definitions

If there are some definition in our text which would be worse mentioned in the Encyclopaedia...

Contact & Coordination

Malte Halbey-Martin
Free University Berlin
Dept. of Geosciences
Inst. of Geogr. Sciences
Malteserstr. 74-100
D-12249 Berlin, Germany
tel: +49.30.83870409
fax: +49.30.83870755
email: malte at geog.fu-berlin.de
online: www.geog.fu-berlin.de/~malte

Springer contact

Jennifer Carlson / Andrea Schmidt
Development Editors
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10016
tel: 212.460.1666
fax: 212.460.1594
email: jennifer.carlson at springer.com
online: www.springer.com
Andreas Neumann <neumann at karto.baug.ethz.ch>
Institute of Cartography
ETH Zurich
Wolfgang-Paulistrasse 15
CH-8093  Zurich, Switzerland

Phone: ++41-44-633 3031, Fax: ++41-44-633 1153
e-mail: neumann at karto.baug.ethz.ch
www: http://www.carto.net/neumann/
SVG.Open: http://www.svgopen.org/
Carto.net: http://www.carto.net/