U.S. NOAA/National Weather Service GRASS GIS Workshop - Ohio River Forecast Center, Wilmington, OH, May 16-20, 2011

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Monday 1:00 PM — Friday Noon

Course Location

NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center 1901 S State Route 134 Wilmington, OH USA 45177 (937) 383-0527 [1]


  • Michael Barton, Arizona State University
  • Helena Mitasova, North Carolina State University
  • Dylan Beaudette, USDA/NRCS (remote lecture)
  • Thomas Adams, NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center; email thomas.adams [at] noaa.gov

How the course will be structured

Workshop Participation

Due to space limitations, participation by non-NOAA/NWS staff is limited to 12 attendees. Attendance will be accepted on a first-come basis. We are asking for a $250 USD fee by each non-NWS participant to be used as a modest honorarium for Michael Barton and Helena Mitasova.

Monday (Noon-5PM)

— will be an introduction to GRASS GIS and concepts; lecture with live demonstrations including some hands-on, “getting started” activity the first day to get people interested and have some fun.

Tuesday - Thursday (8AM-5PM)

— will have a morning lecture with live demonstrations followed by late morning and afternoon labs and lecture vignettes. We will try to break-up lectures with short lab exercises depending on operational use of OHRFC Linux workstations.

Friday (8AM-Noon)

— will cover pre-course submitted specific questions/problems not already planned for the course and those that arise during the week.

The OHRFC will have 12 Linux workstations available for afternoon lab exercises and can easily accommodate 24 participants with doubling-up (10 of the workstations have 3 monitors each); course attendance can accommodate participation from 12 non-NWS attendees. Participants outside of the NWS are encouraged to bring laptops pre-loaded with GRASS GIS 6.4.0, R 2.11.x (or greater), and SQLite.

Lunch will be on-site with delivered Deli Sandwiches, Pizza, and Chinese from Noon to 1PM, Tuesday-Thursday.



  • General Introduction to GRASS GIS
    • Worldwide use of GRASS
    • GRASS features
    • Resources (web based tutorials, GRASS Wiki, OSGeo Journal, books, etc.)
    • What it is & how GRASS is structured
      • File permissions & ownership…
    • Starting GRASS for the first time
      • Tcl/Tk
      • wxPython
      • Projections & datums
      • Re-projecting data
      • Compiling and installing GRASS on Linux
  • Bringing data into GRASS
    • ESRI shapefiles, ascii data, etc.
    • GRIB, netCDF…
  • Database connection: PostgreSQL, SQLite,…
  • Exporting GRASS data to other formats
  • GRASS interaction with Generic Mapping Tools and R

Tuesday (AM)

  • GRASS analysis to support hydrologic modeling
    • Terrain analysis
    • Stream & basin delineation; elevation zones
    • Hypsometric analysis
    • Derive elevation - precipitation plots
    • Compute basin or zone statistics
    • Dealing with NWS xmrg files
    • Spatial interpolation
  • Thematic maps
  • Integration with R

Tuesday (PM)

  • Lab exercises to gain familiarity with GRASS modules used in support of stream & basin delineation, hypsometric analysis, compute basin or zone statistics, etc.

Wednesday (AM)

  • Using GRASS to create web & publication quality maps
  • GRASS shell and python scripting
  • Using satellite imagery and aerial photography
  • Using Lidar data

Wednesday (PM)

  • Lab exercises using GRASS and GMT to create web & publication quality maps; simple shell scripts
  • Importing satellite imagery and aerial photography and use of Lidar data.

Thursday (AM)

  • Connecting GRASS with PostgreSQL and SQLite
  • Analysis of point data
  • Tabular reporting
  • Using R with GRASS GIS

Thursday (PM)

  • Lab exercises demonstrating connecting GRASS with PostgreSQL and SQLite with the analysis of point data; SQL queries and tabular reporting.


  • extending GRASS GIS
  • GRASS extension manager (GEM)
  • pre-course submitted questions/problems answered
  • new questions/problems answered