I think your comments about visualization and 3D are right on the money.
AFAICT, GRASS is far ahead of the rest of the pack of GIS, in terms of its
abilities to work with true 3D (NVIZ has had some major improvements in the
last couple months, so you should take a look at it again.) We could (and
should) capitalize on that. I also agree with your comments about hardware
and looking to the future. The only caveat is that GRASS is important
globally, where hardware varies considerably.
Michael Barton, Professor of Anthropology
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-2402
> From: Syd Visser <[hidden email]>
> Organization: SJ Geophysics Ltd.
> Reply-To: <[hidden email]>
> Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 10:30:18 -0800
> To: <[hidden email]>
> Subject: [GRASS5] re: Grass GUI
> Grass is one of the few GIS systems that is 3D not only 3D raster but
> also 3D vector yet almost all of the interfaces being discussed or
> available such as Qgis, Thuban, Openve, Udig etc appear to be totally 2D
> (some people like to think 2.5D is 3D). The only one that is actually 3D
> is NVIZ and the last time tried to use it it was very good at 2.5D but
> the 3D part was lacking.
> Although a display is not really a part of a true GIS it is likely the
> most important part of a GIS in our line of work (geophysics). We have
> to be able to display our end product graphically to the client and
> almost all of our work is now in 3D since as a geophysicist we usually
> try and determine what is below the ground.
> We are now using Paraview (paraview.org)and Mayavi
> (mayavi.sourgeforge.net) for our display and again moving away from
> grass. Both of these programs are based on the VTK graphics libraries.
> We are also looking at TVTK from enthough
> (https://www.enthought.com/enthought/wiki/TVTK) mabey a Python wrapper
> for grass using packages such as these. This could also greatly extend
> the scientific part of grass.
> So my main points are
> 1) Why is a 3D GIS even looking at 2D graphics (usually 3D packages can
> aslo do 2D or it can easily be added)
> There are 3D graphics libraries available like VTK, OpenDX can
> they not be used. What does NVIZ use is it totally based on OpenGL?
> A GUI appears to me to be jest a wrapper around good libraries so
> is what GUI to use that important with the exception that it
> should be myltiplatform.?
> To me a big mistake I often see programmers make is they write software
> to work with todays or even yesterdays hardware/software. Remember you
> will never get your software working till tomorrows hardware is available.
> In other words, unless there is something new out there, i do not see
> how to do 3D graphics without OpenGL. I have not seen a graphics card
> for years that does not a support it. Even most cheap cards with onboard
> video support OpenGL now.
> The people at Grass are doing a great job and it has a real unique
> chance to get ahead of most major GIS systems think 3D all of the way
> don't stop half way. I think Nviz is doing a great job but we can do our
> work in linux which I prefer but we require a viewer on the windows
> platforms sorry but that is where our clients are.
> Most of our clients do no care how we get there they only want a pretty
> picture or now 3D movie of the end product. So without good graphics and
> a GUI grass will forever linger in academia well mabey that is what the
> majority of people want?
> Syd Visser P.Geo
> SJ Geophysics Ltd.
> [hidden email] > www.sjgeophysics.com
> From: Jack Garner <[hidden email]>
> Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 09:46:32 -0700
> To: Michael Barton <[hidden email]>
> Subject: RE: [GRASSGUI] Re: [GRASS5] re: Grass GUI
> Dr. Barton -
> Please excuse this interruption from a non-developer. However, watching
> this thread and others gives me a necessary perspective into development of
> the GRASS program.
> I have downloaded and installed the v.6 but have not yet had a chance to try
> it. I intend to try GRASS as a substitute to the over-priced commercial
> GISs out there. Have used ESRI for (=/-) 8 years and can't reasonably
> afford the extensions which I would only use ocassionally.
> As a 'user' who does the analysis but who can't get the 'hang' of
> programming, I depend upon people like yourself to develop the tools. I
> sincerely appreciate those efforts! In particular, I also appreciate the
> efforts of all those who develop for ease of use.
> To my point then: I cannot agree with Syd Visser's statement: "Although a
> display is not really a part of a true GIS, . . ". The display is
> absolutely the most necessary part of a ". . true GIS . . ", maybe not
> completely for in-process analysis but for end-product interpretation and
> distribution to clients. On the other hand, I definitely agree with Mr.
> Visser about employing 3D 'right up front'. I use 2D GIS for my daily work.
> I have seen the 3D extensions in the commercial versions and to use the
> coloquial: their end product is 'lame', lacking any real vibrance, utility
> or application away from the "mother program". Any 2.5D, 3D, etc. work I do
> has to be done with a healthy dose of manipulation from an outside graphics
> program such Adobe Illustrator.
> I can't tell you how many times I have been asked by my boss and any number
> of the engineers here: "Can I get this in 3D? Can I have your
> interpretation of the contaminant plume under the surface but over the
> bedrock and I want to show all three simultaneously? Oh! And by the way,
> I'd like to be able to take that as a movie to show the client or the public
> how it may harm/hurt their cause?"
> To try and advance my efforts toward this end, I have been in communication
> with Brad Whitlock at Lawrence Livermore National Labs
> ([hidden email]) concerning the use of their program, called
> VISIT, for just this type of 'true' 3D display. (I don't believe he would
> object to my sharing his email address.) This program, like MayaVi and
> Paraview use the VTK or SILO formats as their 'native' format. Doesn't work
> so well when NO GIS out there writes to these formats. However, at my
> behest, he has successfully written a Shapefile interpreter for the program
> as well as a GDAL port to accept any of its raster formats. Unfortunately,
> we haven't been able to try 3D shapefiles since I can't supply any of them
> to him in that format. These routines work very well. Now, the only major
> hurdle left is to attack the fundamental problem of getting 'standard' GIS
> formats into useable formats for VISIT.
> Perhaps, it might be worth an inquiry to him to see if this effort might be
> applicable to GRASS (the program I hopefull intend to use as my
> Thanks for the opportunity to butt-in and offer my two cents!
> John C. "Jack" Garner
> GIS Tech/Analyist
> EnviroGroup Limited
> 7009 So. Potomac St.
> Centennial, CO, 80112
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]On
> Behalf Of Michael Barton
> Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:47 AM
> To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]; GrassGUI
> Subject: [GRASSGUI] Re: [GRASS5] re: Grass GUI
> I think your comments about visualization and 3D are right on the money.
> AFAICT, GRASS is far ahead of the rest of the pack of GIS, in terms of its
> abilities to work with true 3D (NVIZ has had some major improvements in the
> last couple months, so you should take a look at it again.) We could (and
> should) capitalize on that. I also agree with your comments about hardware
> and looking to the future. The only caveat is that GRASS is important
> globally, where hardware varies considerably.
> Michael Barton, Professor of Anthropology
> School of Human Evolution and Social Change
> Arizona State University
> Tempe, AZ 85287-2402
> phone: 480-965-6213
> fax: 480-965-7671
> www: http://www.public.asu.edu/~cmbarton >