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What is GRASS GIS?

   GRASS is a very powerful and completely free GIS software suite for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows. Below are a collection of various instructions, presentations, and scripts that I have made and which have to do with GRASS. Also, please visit the the GRASS homepage:



"LandDyn" are a series of GRASS-6 addon scripts created and maintained by the Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics Project (MedLanD Project) of Arizona State University. These scripts model human landuse (subsistence agriculture and/or pastoralism) and basic landscape processes such as Landscape Evolution (erosion/deposition over time), Vegetation Succession, Soil Depths, and more. There are also many scripts that calculate various variables that go into the core scripts.

LandDyn scripts may be accessed from the GRASS Addons repository:

Additionally, there are some scripts that are specifically made to interface with the MedLanD project's Agent Based model, AP-SiM. These scripts are in a separate subdirectory of the LanDyn Addons Repository:

Any questions about LandDyn scripts, or anything pertaining to the MedLanD project should be directed to Isaac Ullah.

Short Courses in GIS for Archaeologists and Geoarchaeologists

Course 1: Paleolandscape Reconstruction and Ancient Human Landuse 

Paleolandscape reconstruction is an essential first step for archaeologists interested in how ancient humans interacted with their environment. This is often achieved only schematically through the use of narrative models based on paleoenvironmental proxy data. A new alternative approach utilizes geomorphologic data to digitally model ancient landscapes within a GIS framework, resulting in digital terrain models (DTM’s) of ancient landscapes. These paleolandscape DTM’s can be used as input into spatially explicit models of ancient human landuse and human-environment interaction. This workshop will cover the basic theory and methodology behind GIS-based paleolandscape reconstruction, and will introduce techniques for ancient human landuse simulation. Specific techniques that will be covered include digitization of landscape features, terrain interpolation techniques, site catchment modeling, erosion and deposition modeling, and GIS-based human landuse simulation. The workshop will also teach participants the basics of GRASS GIS, a robust free and open source GIS software suite. Using GRASS offers several methodological and academic advantages because it is actively and collaboratively developed by scientists, allows users to easily create custom scripts, and all modules within GRASS are based upon referable scholarly work. (This course was created in October, 2009, and was originally taught as part of the Universty of Toronto Archaeology Center's invited workshop series)

Presentations (PDF):

01-What is GIS?

02-A quick note on projections.

03-GRASS GIS basics.

04-DEM's surfaces and images.

05-The Mediterranean Landscapes Dynamics Project.

06-Erosion modeling in GIS.

Course Material (PDF):

Erosion modeling and paleolandscape reconstruction handout.

A brief GIS bibliography.

Course 2: GRASS GIS for Anthropoligists

       This course was created in Fall, 2006, and was originaly given in the SHESC graduate tutorial seminars series. It is a basic introduction to GRASS GIS and what anthropologists can do with it. Some of the information is now outdated.
GRASS GIS for Anthropologists (PDF)

GRASS Compilation Notes


Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit:

The following configuration options worked for me to compile and install GRASS7 from source code as of Feb. 24, 2012:

CFLAGS="-g -Wall" ./configure --with-cxx --with-freetype=yes --with-postgres=no --with-sqlite=yes --with-tcltk-includes=/usr/include/tcl8.5 --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 --with-python=/usr/bin/python-config --with-wxwidgets=yes --with-nls --enable-largefile --with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj --enable-64bit --with-libs=/usr/lib64 --with-gdal=/usr/bin/gdal-config

Prior to running this configuration command, be sure to install ALL of the dependancies listed on the
offical "requirements" page, INCLUDING all header files (they will be named "package_name"-dev in the package manager). Use Synaptic Package Manager GUI or apt-get install "package_name"  from the command line to install all of these packages, and NOT the 'Ubuntu Software Center GUI". This is because not al the packages will be available from the Ubuntu Software Center" gui, and also will make sure that they are the official versions from the correct repositories, and that they will be installed in the correct default locations. There is one extra package that must also be installed for NVIS to compile correctly, but which is NOT listed on the official "requirements" page. That package is libxmu-dev. You should install that package from synatptic or apt-get as well. Once the above configure command is successfull, compile the softeware with sudo make, confirm that there are no compilation errors, and then install it with sudo make install

GIS Links


Resources for GRASS:

Other Free GIS Software:

Free GIS Data: