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GRASS GIS 6.3.0 released


The GRASS Development Team announces

GRASS GIS 6.3.0 released 23 April 2008

We are happy to announce the latest release of GRASS GIS, the first major release with new features since GRASS 6.2 first arrived in October 2006.

Officially this is a “technology preview” release, the first beta on the path to GRASS 6.4-stable, and it also marks the start of work on GRASS 7. As such GRASS 6.3.0 is not intended to be a stable release with ongoing support, but after five months of quality-assurance review we are very pleased with the results. Users can be confident to use this version for their day to day work, indeed due to the open development model many already do.

Besides the hundreds of new module features, supported data formats, and language translations, GRASS 6.3 brings a number of exciting enhancements to the GIS. A prototype of the new wxPython user interface is debuted, and for the first time since its inception with a port from the VAX 11780 in 1983, GRASS will run on a non-UNIX based platform: MS-Windows. This is currently still in an experimental state and we hope that widespread testing of 6.3.0 will mean the 6.4 release of WinGRASS will be fully functional and robust. Existing UNIX and Mac users will be happy to know that these new features do not disrupt the base GIS which remains as solid as ever and fully backwards compatible with earlier GRASS 6.0 and GRASS 6.2 releases.

Several infrastructure changes accompany this release with the project becoming a founding member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). This includes a new home for the website, the Wiki help system, source code repository, community add-on module repository, integrated bug tracking system, and formal membership for the project in a non-profit legal entity. We hope that these changes will guarantee that the GRASS community will be well supported and vibrant well into the future.

The Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, commonly referred to as GRASS, is a Geographic Information System (GIS) providing powerful raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines in a single integrated software suite. GRASS includes tools for spatial modeling, visualization of raster and vector data, management and analysis of geospatial data, and the processing of satellite and aerial imagery. It also provides the capability to produce sophisticated presentation graphics and hardcopy maps.

GRASS is currently used around the world in academic and commercial settings as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies. It runs on a variety of popular hardware platforms and is Free open-source software released under the terms of the GNU General Public License.


Platforms supported by GRASS

GNU/Linux, Mac OS X/Darwin, Microsoft Windows (native using MinGW or with full UNIX support via Cygwin), Sun Solaris (SPARC/Intel), Silicon Graphics Irix, HP-UX, DEC-Alpha, AIX, BSD, iPAQ/Linux and other UNIX compliant platforms. GRASS runs on both 32 and 64 bit systems with large files (>2GB) supported by many key modules.

Software download/CDROM

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

For details on GRASS software capabilities please refer to: http://grass.osgeo.org/intro/general.php, the previous announcements of GRASS 6.2.0, GRASS 6.2.1, GRASS 6.2.2, and GRASS 6.2.3, and the Wiki collaborative help system.

What’s new in GRASS 6.3.0

(selected improvements from the more than 3400 minor and important fixes)

  • Source code quality/libraries:
    • Many fixes for native MS-Windows support (MinGW based)
    • Programmer’s Manual: continued Doxygen integration and automated generation into PDF and HTML formats. Publicly available for download and perusal.
    • Improved policies for code submission specified in the SUBMITTING files for documentation, Python, Tcl/Tk, and shell scripts
    • GRASS-SWIG prototype interface improved (library bindings for Perl and Python)
    • All modules: --quiet and --verbose message modes
    • All modules: --script flag generates boilerplate for shell scripts with parser and GUI support
    • Batch mode for launching GRASS for non-interactive processing tasks
    • DBMI: SQL parser extended (support for DROP COLUMN, ASC/DESC keyword in ORDER BY clause, etc.)
    • Partial differential equations library with OpenMP support (gpdelib)
    • Moved aggregate functions into separate statistics library
    • Display driver: add R_bitmap() and supporting infrastructure
    • Major clean-up to the display architecture (libraries and drivers): the drivers no longer maintain a palette; all colours are specified directly as R/G/B values
    • Segmentation library polished
    • Cdhc library for testing normality & exponentiality polished
    • “Default” datum transformation parameters are now first in the list instead of last
    • Create new locations using EPSG codes with g.proj
    • Message translation (i18N): translations continued, new languages including Vietnamese and Arabic
    • Documentation/man pages: various fixes and improvements (more examples added, including graphics, improved style, new introductory pages)
    • Documentation: various terminology issues fixed and terms unified
    • Symbols: New icons, support for symbol rotation
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI):
    • g.gui: New frontend command to launch GUI sessions
    • gis.m Tcl/Tk GUI:
      • GIS manager extended with mouse placement of text and scale bars and menu updates
      • Updated Tcl/Tk profile and georectification GUI tools
      • New interactive command console with output window
      • New interfaces for interactive raster reclassification, raster recoding, custom raster color rules, and vector reclassification
      • New animation tool to display raster map series as an animation
    • wxPython GUI:
    • Improved startup screen and interface, including searchable EPSG codes list and better custom datum support
    • NVIZ: Major revamp of interface; output directly to MPEG or other FFmpeg supported formats
    • QGIS integration: GRASS toolbox extended, available from Quantum GIS
  • Drivers:
    • DBF driver: extended column type support
    • HTMLMAP display driver: NEW - Prepares clickable HTML image map templates (port from GRASS 5)
    • PostScript display driver: NEW - Renders display directly into a PostScript or Encapsulated PostScript file
    • Cairo display driver: NEW - Renders display directly into a number of image formats using the Cairo rendering engine
  • New and major updates for modules and scripts since GRASS 6.2.3:
    • db.dropcol: NEW - Drops a column from selected attribute table
    • db.droptable: NEW - Drops an attribute table
    • db.in.ogr: NEW - Imports attribute tables in various formats
    • db.login: Support for interactive password entry (invisible passwords)
    • db.out.ogr: NEW - Exports attribute tables into various formats
    • d.barscale: North arrow for lat/lon locations
    • d.out.file: Expanded to use the Cairo and PostScript display drivers to allow export to ps, eps, svg, and pdf formats
    • d.path: Support for use from GUI and non-interactive mode
    • d.rast.edit: Rewritten in Tcl/Tk
    • d.shadedmap: NEW - Drapes a semi-transparent raster over a shaded relief map
    • d.text, d.font: Updated to accept TrueType fonts and maintain a database of system fonts
    • g.dirseps: NEW - Internal utility for converting directory characters (MS-Windows)
    • g.findetc: NEW - Internal utility for locating support files
    • g.gui: NEW - Launches a GRASS graphical user interface (GUI) session
    • g.message: NEW - Internal utility for printing quiet and verbose messages in scripts
    • g.mkfontcap: NEW - Internal utility for generating a list of available system fonts
    • g.mremove: Support for use from GUI
    • i.atcorr: NEW - Performs atmospheric correction using the 6S algorithm
    • i.landsat.rgb: Vast speed improvement
    • ps.map: Various improvements including new map border control, rotated and scaled symbols, and allowing geogrid from lat/lon locations
    • r3.gwflow: NEW - Models transient, confined groundwater flow in three dimensions
    • r3.stats: NEW - Generates volume statistics for raster3d maps
    • r3.univar: NEW - Calculates univariate statistics from the cells of a 3D raster map
    • r.bilinear: This module has been replaced by ‘r.resamp.interp’
    • r.category: NEW - Manages raster map category values and labels (replaces r.cats)
    • r.colors: Support for equalized histogram, reversed, logarithmically scaled, rules-from-file, and more
    • r.gwflow: NEW - Models transient, confined groundwater flow in two dimensions
    • r.in.wms: Various fixes and more robust when dealing with flaky WMS servers
    • r.in.xyz: Support for extended statistics
    • r.le suite: Various fixes and modernization
    • r.li suite: NEW - Advanced toolset for multiscale analysis of landscape structure. Including single and multi-processor enabled modules: r.li.cwed, r.li.dominance, r.li.edgedensity, r.li.mpa, r.li.mps, r.li.padcv, r.li.padrange, r.li.padsd, r.li.patchdensity, r.li.patchnum, r.li.richness, r.li.setup, r.li.shannon, r.li.shape, and r.li.simpson
    • r.mfilter.fp: NEW - Raster map custom matrix filter (floating point version)
    • r.out.gdal: New C implementation replaces shell script version, region sensitive with color export ability
    • r.out.xyz: NEW - Exports a raster map to a text file as x,y,z values based on cell centers
    • r.profile: Report data outside the current region as invalid
    • r.proj: Replaced with an improved version
    • r.resamp.interp: NEW - Resamples raster map layers to a finer grid using interpolation
    • r.resamp.stats: NEW - Resamples raster map layers to a coarser grid using aggregation
    • r.support: Enhanced control of meta-data
    • r.support.stats: NEW - Support module which updates raster map statistics
    • r.univar: Support for extended statistics
    • r.watershed: Vast speed improvement
    • r.what.color: NEW - Queries colors for a raster map layer
    • v.db.dropcol: NEW - Drops a column from the attribute table connected to a given vector map
    • v.db.join: NEW - Allows to join a table to a vector map table
    • v.db.renamecol: NEW - Renames a column in the attribute table connected to a given vector map
    • v.db.univar: NEW - Calculates univariate statistics on selected table column for a vector map
    • v.digit (Tcl/Tk): Rewritten for use without X11
    • v.digit (wxPython): NEW - All new vector map digitizer rewritten in wxPython
    • v.edit: NEW - Edits a vector map, allows adding, deleting and modifying selected vector features
    • v.generalize: NEW - Generalization of vector features using a number of smoothing techniques
    • v.in.db: More efficient implementation of the where= option
    • v.in.wfs: NEW - Import GetFeatures from WFS format
    • v.net.visibility: NEW - Visibility graph construction
    • v.out.svg: NEW - Exports a vector map to SVG format
    • v.proj: Better handling of z coordinates in 3-D vectors
    • v.support: NEW - Updates vector map metadata
    • v.surf.idw and v.surf.rst: Work with massive datasets imported without topology (e.g. LIDAR)

For a comprehensive list of changes see the 6.3 ChangeLog file.

For a complete list of commands available in GRASS 6.3.0 see the online manuals and the GRASS 6 module list.

We are always looking for testers, code developers, and technical writers to help us maintain and accelerate the development cycle. The GRASS GIS project is developed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (the GPL) in the open by volunteers the world over. GRASS differs from many other GIS software packages used in the professional world in that it is developed and distributed by users for users, mostly on a volunteer basis, in the open, and is given away for free. Emphasis is placed on interoperability and unlimited access to data as well as on software flexibility and evolution rate.

Release history:

GRASS Development Team