GRASS 6 Tutorial

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GRASS GIS version 6.4 is fully operational and stable version that can be used for production use. This tutorial will familiarize you with the improved functionality and will focus on raster and vector data management as well some basic spatial data analysis.

This tutorial is intended for GRASS GIS users who want to migrate from a previous release to the new GRASS Version. If you are a beginner, please also consider additional books or tutorials as well as consulting the Introductory Material.

Disclaimer: In case the examples described here do not work properly, you are kindly invited to send us further examples and/or code bugfixes/enhancements. Enjoy the WIKI!

NOTE: This tutorial is under construction and is incorporating sections of the previous GRASS 5.7 tutorial.


New developments in GRASS GIS have made major improvements to the vector architecture. The most significant change includes a new 2- and 3-dimensional vector library that manages vector attributes in standard database management systems (DBMS), providing a fully relational database for vector attribute management, while preserving the flexibility of traditional GRASS topological tools. GRASS now also incorporates true 3-dimensional voxels in the NVIZ visualization environment as well as numerous enhancements to virtually every tool in the GRASS library.

If you are new to GRASS GIS and plan to use the command line inteface and/or within a Linux environment, it is recommended that you read the Introductory Material for Linux. Also, if you have been using other GIS packages, you may find the Migration tips useful reading.

This tutorial is designed to give you hands-on experience with GRASS GIS. We start by showing you how to view and query raster and vector data and continue by explaining how to import and process raster and vector data.

Getting started

Displaying Spatial Data

Raster data management


This section of the tutorial is intended to provide new users with an introduction to raster data management in GRASS GIS. As with other parts of the GRASS 6 tutorial, the examples are largely based on the GRASS 5.7 tutorial as well as the GRASS GIS presentation at Geostat-2012. The aim is to present the reader with introductory information on handling raster data within GRASS GIS. It is worth mentioning that the raster management hasn't changed significantly from previous versions of GRASS (e.g. versions 4 or 5), therefore older tutorials and books on the GRASS raster modules should also work.

Raster Data Management

Vector data management


The native GRASS vector format provides provides vector topology with n:m mapping of geometry features to attributes. In addition, vector layers are supported with a variety of database management systems (DBMS) supported as back-ends that include: SQLite, PostgreSQL + PostGIS, MySQL, ODBC (, DBF). The vector geometry types supported in GRASS includes: points, centroids, lines, boundaries, areas (boundaries + centroids), face (3d areas), kernels and volumes.

The examples that follow in this section on vector data management are based on the datasets available here

Vector Data Management

Vector Spatial Analysis

Vector network analysis examples [from GRASS 5.7 tutorial]

Complex usage examples [from GRASS 5.7 tutorial]

Examples from US National Atlas [from GRASS 5.7 tutorial]

Additional Information

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


Links of interest

Further reading

GRASS and R kriging interpolation

Mini How to interpolate using kriging with GRASS and R

How to interpolate point value using kriging method with R and GRASS 6