Starting GRASS

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http://grass.itc.it/gdp/grass5tutor/HTML_en/c626.html contains advice on setting up a directory structure for GRASS projects. It advises:

 /data/            # as a shared directory for team projects with sysop managed group permissions
 /data/grassdata   # grass GIS database 
 /data/grassdata/spearfish    # a shared spearfish Location
 /data/grassdata/spearfish/maria    #  a team member's working mapset
 /data/grassdata/spearfish/david    # another member's working mapset

For individual use, such a structure is not necessary. One will need a database, and GRASS can create Location and Mapset directories. Your default database/location/mapset may be stored in your .grass6rc file.

GRASS can be invoked with:

grass --help  # print options
grass   # start with defaults from .grassrc6
grass /data/grassdata/spearfish/david  # a specific mapset