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Introduction to the different GRASS APIs

Introduction to this document

GRASS Modules as "functions"

  • GRASS has modular structure: each module is a separate program
  • Easy to integrate into any language that allows system calls

The Python scripting library

  • Some specific python functions to facilitate calling grass modules and capturing their output

Easy GUI creation in scripts

  • Automatic GUI creation based on basic configuration of options

The PyGRASS API using ctypes

  • Direct access to low-level C-functions (via ctypes).
  • Direct access to data
  • Allows writing more complex Python programs than the scripting library


  • Core library is 30 years old
  • Different additional libraries added through time