GRASS 6.3.0 is a "technology preview" release, the first beta on the
path to GRASS 6.4-stable, and 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 users can be
confident to use this version for their day to day work, indeed due to
the open development model many already do.
This release brings hundreds of new module features, supported data
formats, and language translations, as well as a number of exciting
enhancements to the GIS. A prototype of the new wxPython user interface
is debuted, and for the the first since its inception with a port from
the VAX 11/780 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 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 (GRASS) is a Geographic
Information System (GIS) used for spatial modeling, visualization of
both raster and vector data, geospatial data management and analysis,
processing of satellite and aerial imagery, and production of
sophisticated presentation graphics and hardcopy maps. GRASS combines
powerful raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines into a
single integrated software package.
The GRASS GIS project is developed under the terms of the GNU General
Public License (the GPL) 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. The source code is freely
available allowing for immediate customization, examination of the
underlying algorithms, addition of new features, and fast bug fixing.
GRASS is currently used around the world in academic and commercial
settings as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental