WxPython-based GUI for GRASS

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Browse also wxGUI related articles or screenshots.

See also GRASS GUI, and GRASS and Python.

For developer-related issues see Trac wxGUI page and [ GitHub GUI issues].


Historical development documents:



Do you want to help with the development?

  • basic Python programming ability required
  • GUI programming experience welcomed (especially wxPython)
  • GRASS user (or better developer) experience

How to get write access to the GRASS GIS code repository.

See example of wxGUI module in core: doc/gui/wxpython/example/


Video tutorials


Core components

Layer Manager

Status: prototype implemented.

The GRASS GIS Layer Manager provides an interactive graphical interface to GRASS commands. The Layer Manager includes a set of pull-down menus for all GRASS GIS functions (analysis, file I/O, GIS configuration and management), toolbar that manage display map layers in map display windows, layer tree in which map layers to display are organized, command output window and integrated command line prompt.

Import tool

The GUI offers a convenient tool for single map and bulk import:

Map display window

Each Map display window has a unique set of layers to display and region setting (zoom). The map display window includes main toolbar with basic tools including zooming, panning, data querying, simple analyse functions (measure, profile, histogram, etc.), overlay management, etc. From main toolbar are accessible additional toolbars, currently only Digitization tool is available. Under development is Georectification tool.

Map query tool

Raster and vector maps can be queried at cursor position:

Raster and vector map query (select map to query in layer manager)

Map measure tool

Raster and vector maps can be measured with a digitizer (line or self-closing area).

Note for LatLong locations: The lengths/areas are returned also in metric units.

Measurements of line length and area size (latitude-longitude location example with SRTM

GUI dialogs

Status: prototype implemented.

Generated from XML using --interface-description.

E.g. d.rgb --help

 Displays three user-specified raster map layers as red, green, and blue overlays in the active graphics frame.


 d.rgb [-ox] red=name green=name blue=name [--verbose] [--quiet]

  -o   Overlay (non-null values only)
  -x   Don't add to list of commands in monitor
 --v   Verbose module output
 --q   Quiet module output

    red   Name of raster map to be used for <red>
  green   Name of raster map to be used for <green>
   blue   Name of raster map to be used for <blue>

becomes with d.rgb --interface-description

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <!DOCTYPE task SYSTEM "[http://trac.osgeo.org/grass/browser/grass/trunk/gui/xml/grass-interface.dtd grass-interface.dtd]">
  <task name="d.rgb">
                Displays three user-specified raster map layers as red, green, and blue overlays in the active graphics frame.
        <parameter name="red" type="string" required="yes" multiple="no">
                        Name of raster map to be used for &lt;red&gt;
                        <item order="1">name</item>
                <gisprompt age="old" element="cell" prompt="raster" />
        <parameter name="green" type="string" required="yes" multiple="no">
                        Name of raster map to be used for &lt;green&gt;
                        <item order="1">name</item>
                <gisprompt age="old" element="cell" prompt="raster" />
        <parameter name="blue" type="string" required="yes" multiple="no">
                        Name of raster map to be used for &lt;blue&gt;
                        <item order="1">name</item>
                <gisprompt age="old" element="cell" prompt="raster" />
        <flag name="o">
                        Overlay (non-null values only)
        <flag name="x">
                        Don't add to list of commands in monitor
        <flag name="verbose">
                        Verbose module output
        <flag name="quiet">
                        Quiet module output

which is then used to generate:

Startup GUI (welcome screen)

grass78 -gui

Location wizard

Status: prototype implemented.

Wizard for creating new GRASS project location based on:

  • Coordinate system
  • EPSG code
  • Georeferenced file
  • PROJ.4 string
  • XY

See also GRASS Location Wizard.

Location wizard


Vector digitizer

Status: prototype implemented.

See also manual page

See also GRASS Digitizing tool and wxGUI Vector Digitizer.

Replacement of v.digit module integrated into Map display window (Screenshots).

Raster digitizer

Status: development started in GRASS 7 (2014) --> implemented in 2020

Probably write a front end for r.in.poly, that's all the old r.digit is.
Idea: get cell center coords and new values from GUI interaction, then pass those through r.in.xyz, and r.patch the new values over the top of the old map.
Current status:
Raster map editor in GRASS 7
  • merge with Georectifier? (i.points, i.vpoints)
Category Labels
  • Write with new r.category import tool
    • Back-end component complete: r.category module is now updated to handle a rules= file and other goodies like dynamic labels
or read the cats/ file directly, it's already flat ascii.
  • how to deal with FP maps & cats?

Command line

In order to provide a command line in all operating systems, there is a tab "Command console" available (with auto-completion support). It communicates directly with the Map Display window:

Command line
Command line

Cartography tools

GUI for ps.map

Status: under development (Anna Kratochvilova).

Note: More info at WxGUI Cartographic Composer

Cartographic Composer: draft mode
Cartographic Composer: preview

Direct printing

Status: development not started yet.

Implement direct printing of map canvas content using GRASS PS driver or Cairo driver.


Status: prototype implemented.

Georectifier (old interface)
Georectifier (old interface)
Georectification of historical maps using a simplified OpenStreetmap reference (example Berlin) - new interface

See also Georeferencing.

Profile Analysis Tool

Status: prototype implemented.

Attribute table manager

Status: prototype implemented.

See wxGUI Attribute Table Manager page and also manual page.

Attribute queries in wxGUI

3D view mode

Status: prototype implemented (Google Summer of Code 2008/2010/2011).

See detailed information at wxNVIZ page and classic Tcl/Tk NVIZ pages.

Displaying raster (surface), 2D vector and 3D raster (volume) in the 3D space.

Imagery tools

Status: (re)development not started in earnest yet. Some behind-the-scenes code has been prepared, but not much.

Volunteers welcome!

Ortho photos

Status: GUI development not started yet, initial start of module updates like i.ortho.rectify


Status: prototype implemented.

Graphical Modeller

Status: prototype implemented.

See wxGUI Graphical Modeler page for more information.

Extension Manager

Status: prototype implemented

Settings | Addons extensions | Install extension from addons

wxGUI Extension Manager
wxGUI Extension Manager

Raster Calculator

Status: prototype implemented. This is a frontend to r.mapcalc

wxGUI Map Calculator

See also video tutorials.

GRASS Catalog

Status: under development (in AddOns)

GRASS Catalog
GRASS Catalog
Current Features
  • copy, delete, rename map layers (raster & vector) in current mapset.
  • view raster & vector map layers from any location and any mapset.
  • Provides a GUI wrapper for r.info & v.info grass commands while viewing map layers in mapwindow.
  • Can connect with OssimPlanet using PlanetSasha
  • Add and Remove maps from GRASS GIS to OssimPlanet(Send to OssimPlanet/Remove from OssimPlanet)
To be implemented
  • copy, move map layers in different mapsets.
  • View DBF files as tables.
  • Copy, delete, rename DBF files.
  • Modify attribute tables.
  • Create a properties window to display Coordinate system & projection for each map
  • ...

Alternative: http://code.google.com/p/wxgis/

r.li.setup GUI

Status: available as g.gui.rlisetup (former r.li.setup)

Help browser

Status: development not started yet.

For browsing manual pages is currently used web browser, the goal is to design integrated help system.

HB: We used to have one of these for viewing the help pages of Tcl/Tk NVIZ. We dropped it because it was a pain to maintain and generally outside our core mission so a distraction.

Map Swipe

Status: prototype implemented.

This tool enables you to compare two raster maps covering the same area (e.g. compare maps from different year).

Current features
  • orientation of swipe line can be horizontal or vertical
  • zooming works in the same way as in Map Display

See more examples and videos at WxGUI Map Swipe page.

wxGUI Map Swipe for disaster management: Tsunami Japan 2011

Animation Tool

Status: prototype implemented in GRASS 7 (Anna Kratochvilova).

Animation tool is a replacement for xganim. It allows to animate a series of GRASS raster maps or a space time raster dataset (see GRASS GIS temporal extension).

wxGUI animation tool
wxGUI animation tool
More info at WxGUI Animation Tool.

Vector Network Analysis Tool

Status: prototype implemented.

See more examples and video at WxGUI Vector Network Analysis Tool page.

WMS support

Known issues

Platform specific

For the GUI to know what platform it's on, and therefore apply platform specific commands (e.g. append '.exe' to programs) it has to test what platform it is running on. Here we take the experimental approach to learning what's best to use. Please add or generalize this list as you can.

Platform information - start Python from the command line then issue

 import sys
 import os
 import platform
  • Results:
Platform sys.platform os.name os.environ['OS'] platform.system()
32bit GNU/Linux linux2 posix n/a Linux
64bit GNU/Linux linux2 posix n/a Linux
32bit Mac OSX (PowerPC G4) darwin posix n/a Darwin
64bit Mac OSX (Intel) [1] see note ? ? ?
32bit MS Windows XP win32 nt Windows_NT Windows
64bit MS Windows Vista win32 nt Windows_NT Windows
32bit MS Windows XP (Cygwin) win32 ? ? ?
64bit MS Windows 7 win32 nt Windows_NT Windows

[1] On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 10:49 PM, William Kyngesburye wrote:

Right now the GUI only runs 32bit, even if the rest of GRASS is 64bit, because it's not yet possible for wxPython to be 64bit. It comes out the same as PPC 32bit - no distinction between ppc/intel or 32/64 bit, it's all darwin. (yes, I checked, and I have a custom 64bit python executable to verify)

General GUI Design


For some users, the current approach of separate windows (SDI) leads to a windows flooding. Especially on large monitors or dual screen systems catching the wxGUI windows can be tedious when they appear on separate monitors (depends on windows manager, the much used KDE scatters typically the wxGUI windows all over the screen real estate). Almost each task generates a new wxGUI window which is freely floating around on the screen: example 1 and example 2. On a dual-screen this may sum up to 50cm of distance!

Proposed solutions:

  • implement optional layout similar to QGIS (with a legend attached to each display) or GSDView etc) (see figure below)
  • implement optional magnetic docking of the layer manager and display windows to keep the windows closer
  • do not allow module windows to stay open. That is, get rid of the apply button and force each window to close when OK is pressed (QGIS/ArcGIS approach). This leaves only the display(s) and single legend/layer manager on desktop.
  • If you otherwise wish to continue using your current WM, file a bug report with them asking for better multi-head support and get the problem fixed at the source. (there probably already is a bug filed with tips in it)
Current wxGUI layout with detached window components
Proposal for wxGUI layout modification (Recomposition of existing toolbars, mapview and menus)

New solution: see WxGUI#Data_Catalog above.

What others do

SDI: (each document opened in application occupies a window on the desktop)

  • GRASS: display window for each document (i.e., set of maps displayed) opened on desktop; one legend/layer manager window for all display windows; ; each module/function opens a separate window on the desktop
  • QGIS: display window for each document (i.e., set of maps displayed) opened on the desktop; legend/layer manager window attached to each display window; each module/function opens a separate window on the desktop (e.g. http://grass.osgeo.org/grass61/screenshots/images/qgis08_grass6_toolbox.png)
  • ArcGIS: similar to QGIS with combined legend/display for each document (set of maps displayed); each module/function opens a separate window on the desktop (e.g. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/92/ArcMap.jpg)
  • MapInfo (pre Pitney Bowes): each document opens a map display window on the desktop; single legend/toolbox opened on the desktop controls all visible documents (i.e., map displays); each module/function opens a separate window on the desktop (similar to current GRASS layout)

MDI: (a single frame is opened for the application on the desktop; all documents opened inside the application frame)

See also

Useful links