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 has now been translated into twenty languages and supports a huge array of data formats.
GRASS User Interface
The development team is pleased to announce the release of GRASS GIS 6.4.0, the first in the new line of 6.4 stable releases.

As a stable release 6.4 will enjoy long-term support. The next release (6.4.1) will introduce a few new features which are still undergoing final testing, but after that all further 6.4 releases will be bugfix-only. Due to our highly conservative stabilization policy this is the first official version of GRASS to introduce new features since October 2006 and supersedes the previous stable line of GRASS 6.2. As such the floodgates are open and there are many new features to explore and many new structural improvements to be found in the software.

GRASS 6.4 brings a number of exciting enhancements to the GIS. Our new wxPython graphical user interface (wxGUI) is debuted, Python is now a fully supported scripting language, and for the first time since its inception with a port from the VAX 11/780 in 1983, GRASS will now run natively on a non-UNIX based platform: MS-Windows! In addition to bringing the software to a host of new users, the ability to run GRASS on any common computer platform furthers our goal of open access to the software. We hope you will enjoy the ability to use this program on the systems that are most convenient to you and your work.

Due to the freshness of WinGrass there may still be a few rough edges yet to discover, but after more than a year of dedicated testing and 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. 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 6.2 releases. The venerable Tcl/Tk GUIs are also still available if you prefer to use them.

The GRASS software including over 400 built-in analysis modules and 100 community supplied add-on modules and toolboxes can be downloaded for free from the main GRASS website at http://grass.osgeo.org, or from many local mirrors worldwide. In addition to the extensive documentation which comes with the software, our Wiki help system contains a wealth of user supplied tips and tricks, tutorials, and guides.

Since 6.4 entered the testing phase work has begun on GRASS 7 and is progressing rapidly, including many new wxGUI improvements and tools which we hope to bring over for the upcoming 6.4.1 release.

Literature

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About fjbehr

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Behr, Professor of Geoinformatics at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (http://www.gis-management.de/). His specializations include * Internet, Internet GIS * XML, GML, SVG * Data exchange and Interoperability * Visualization * Open Source Solutions * Consulting Member of the DIN working group NA 005-03-03 AA "Arbeitsausschuss Kartographie und Geoinformation" (Sp CEN/TC 287+ISO/TC 211). He is the author of two authoritative books on GIS in German, one is "Strategisches GIS-Management", published by Wichmann Verlag (2004). The second is "Einführung in Geographische Informationssysteme" (1997).

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