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GRASS GIS 5.3.0 released 15 May 2004

The GRASS Development Team announces:

GRASS GIS 5.3.0 released 15 May 2004

A new release of GRASS has been published. This is a “technology preview” release from the 5.3 development series, which is undergoing testing in preparation for creation of the stable 5.4 branch (see the GRASS Development Roadmap). GRASS 5.3 is already in reliable daily production use at many locations worldwide.

The Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, commonly referred to as GRASS GIS, is a Geographical Information System (GIS) used for data management, image processing, graphics production, spatial modelling, and visualization of raster, vector and sites data. It is open source Free Software released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Platforms supported by GRASS:

GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris (SPARC/Intel), Silicon Graphics Irix, Mac OS X/Darwin, Microsoft Windows with Cygwin, HP-UX, DEC-Alpha, AIX, BSD, iPAQ/Linux and other UNIX compliant platforms (32/64bit).

Software download:

The new source code is available now, and selected binary distributions for major operating systems will be published shortly.

For details on GRASS software capabilities please refer to: http://grass.itc.it/general.html

What’s new in GRASS 5.3.0

5.3.0 represents a significant improvement in functionality over 5.0.3 (the most recent release in the old 5.0 stable series) and in addition includes many bugfixes. Selected major changes are outlined below. For a more comprehensive list of changed modules see the Developers’ Notes; the full ChangeLog is also available.

Datum Transformation
Re-projection of GPS and satellite-derived data into a national co-ordinate system often requires datum transformation, otherwise shifts in the data of the order of several hundred metres can occur. The GRASS re-projection modules r.proj, v.proj and s.proj now support datum transformation. This is built on top of the implementation in the PROJ.4 library. If you are not sure whether your existing locations in the database contain enough information to perform datum transformations, please re-run g.setproj, which has been improved.
Shared library support
Using the configure option –enable-gmake=no (this will become the default for 5.4 when it is reliable on all supported platforms) makes use of a new build mechanism which compiles the core GRASS libraries as shared by default. This results in a much smaller size for the installed binaries. Not yet fully compatible with Mac OSX and Cygwin.
External PROJ.4 library support
Users can avail of the latest updates to the projections and datums supported by the RemoteSensing.org PROJ.4 library by compiling GRASS against it. This is the default; note that PROJ.4 must be installed before GRASS. Using the –with-proj=no configure option will result in the old version of PROJ.4 contained within the GRASS sources being used instead.
New tcltkgrass Graphical User Interface menu structure
Additional commands are also supported via the GUI. g.help is still there, but an enhanced task-oriented GUI is now also available to guide novice users through typical GIS tasks
Improvements to 3-D Visualisation
Updates to the nviz 3-D visualisation tool include experimental loading and saving of 3d.view files from the GRASS database, off-screen rendering and implementation of many planned features for which ‘stub’ functionality only has existed up to now. In addition the new module d.nviz allows automated creation of fly-through animations in nviz.
Improved Inverse distance weighted interpolation
An improved algorithm in s.surf.idw indexes sites and allows greatly improved performance when the region resolution and number of sites are both very large.
Experimental LIDAR processing tools (not compiled by default)
s.bspline.reg, s.correction, s.edgedetection, s.growing, s.to.qrast
Experimental hydrology and sediment transport simulation tools (not compiled by default)
r.sim.sediment, r.sim.water
Experimental large-scale watershed computation
G3D 3-D Raster Voxel tools enabled
The 3-D raster processing tools are fully enabled in this release of GRASS. This includes the modules g3.region, g3.list, g3.remove, g3.rename, g3.setregion, r3.colors, r3.in.ascii, r3.in.grid3, r3.in.v5d, r3.info, r3.mapcalc, r3.mask, r3.mkdspf, r3.null, r3.out.ascii, r3.out.v5d, r3.showdspf, r3.timestamp, r3.to.sites, g3.createwind, s.to.rast3, s.vol.idw and s.vol.rst
MATLAB import and export (not compiled by default)
GRASS can now import and export rasters from the MATLAB binary ‘.mat’ format. The relevant modules are r.in.mat and r.out.mat
Raster time series Statistical Analysis (not compiled by default)
r.series can be used to create an output raster map where each cell value is a statistical function (average, count, median, mode, minimum, maximum, stddev, sum, variance, diversity, slope or offset) of the values of the corresponding cells in all the input raster maps.
Vis5D Output (not compiled by default)
r3.in.v5d and r3.out.v5d already exist to allow data conversion between Vis5D and GRASS G3D format. Now in addition 2-D raster and vector data can be output to a Vis5D model (for further enhanced visualisation) using the new modules r.out.v5d.topo and v.out.v5d.map. g.region.v5d sets the region from a Vis5D file.
TrueColor Support
All the core display modules (*d.**) now support 24-bit colour.
More reliable raster import
Technical changes and bugfixes to the r.in.gdal raster import module mean that by default it will operate reliably with all recent and older versions of GDAL.
Other new modules (not all compiled/installed by default)
Miscellaneous new modules include d.3d.views, d.info, d.out.png, d.sites.icons, i.tasscap.tm7, m.cogo, r.grow2, r.out.gdal, r.texture, r.univar2, s.cellstats, s.kernel and s.sv2svfit.

Note on changes in datum transformation functionality for locations using the ‘nad27’ and ‘nad83’ datums

Released versions of GRASS 5.0.x from 5.0.0pre4 onward (i.e. up to and including 5.0.3) have included the capability to perform NAD27<–>NAD83 datum conversions. This was done using the published NADCON conversion tables, if and only if the line ‘datum: nad27’ appeared in the PROJ_INFO file for one location and ‘datum: nad83’ in the other. Even if datum transformation parameters were specified (e.g. dx, dy, dz) they were ignored and the NADCON tables used. In GRASS 5.3 any datum transformation parameters present in the PROJ_INFO file will be used. These are likely to be less accurate than the NADCON transformation (unless g.setproj is re-run for the location and the NADCON parameters specifically selected). Many more datum transformation options are available in this release of GRASS and g.setproj should be re-run if in any doubt that the location is using the most up-to-date datum parameters.

Why is 5.4.0 not yet released?

The developers want to ensure that 5.4.0 is a stable release. GRASS development relies on people willing to help. This 5.3.0 release is a candidate for becoming the 5.4.0 release. It can only be made stable if it enjoys a lot of testing. Please give it a spin. Report bugs to the GRASS bugtracker. Don’t hesitate to report a bug which you find in the new release.

If you are interested in joining the developers team, and/or share algorithms or ideas with the GRASS community, contact us! http://grass.itc.it/grassdevel.html

Concurrent Development Series 5.7

Major changes and improvements to the vector engine and attribute management system have been implemented in the 5.7.x line, which is very usable today and will become the next major production series as 5.8.x. At present development is taking place concurrently on both the 5.3.x and 5.7.x lines, but once the stable release of 5.4.0 is made, all development effort will transfer to 5.7.x.

We are always looking for both testers and developers to help us maintain and accelerate this development cycle.

GRASS Development Team