[GRASS-dev] Making start of GRASS GIS easier for newcomers

Vaclav Petras wenzeslaus at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 06:04:40 PST 2015

On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 3:53 AM, Nikos Alexandris <nik at nikosalexandris.net>

> On 22.01.2015 10:32, Helmut Kudrnovsky wrote:
>  > > I find the fact that GRASS does not provide a default
>>> > > projection system, but forces the user to think about projection
>>> from the
>>> > > start, one of its strengths, both for work and for teaching.
>     >> On of it strenghts, yes. But I have been teaching GRASS a lot to GIS
>>    >> professionals who got trained on different systems. And many asked
>>    >> "why this screen? why cannot you just start like the other GIS"?
>> And I
>>    > >tend to agree (again: optionally). The point is that we, on the
>>    > >contrary to many other GIS, still have all the control mechanisms in
>>    >> place which avoid that the user mixes projections. So that's all
>> fine.
>  And what will you do after 'just starting'? Do you have your data as LL?
>>> Or
>> will you use -o flag to ignore
>>> the projection check?
>  I agree. I can't see any benefit to be automatically in a LL location, as
>> in
>> many cases your data will be in other SRSs.
>  what may be make sense: define your projection/srs by import your first
>> data
>> and offer this option in a prominent way in the welcome screen and not
>> "hidden" in the location wizzard as at the moment.
> +1
This is was my suggestion allows us to add "Location from data/GIS file".
Default place would be under New, Rename and Delete buttons together with
"Unpack location from ZIP", "Create LL", and "Create XY". Alternative
placement would be at the top or bottom of the Select GRASS Location group
box. This could serve to both novices and advanced users unlike other

"Skip, and start GRASS session" button can be at the bottom. The
functionality as described by Markus Metz makes sense, create grassdata in
user home and get demolocation from source code. We can also just create
this location automatically if the GISDBASE is not set (1) or is empty, do
the think which would "Skip" button do and then you can just use standard
"Start GRASS session".

The advantage of my suggestion is that we can actually make it to the
release of 7.0 (2) and then add improvements later.

(1) Now, we show an error dialog which looks that everything is wrong which
after OK, shows Browse dialog which without reading is hard to understand
and this is what people starting GRASS for the first time get. I replaced a
lot of these dialogs (errors or just warnings) by the message shown in the
windows. This one will be next.

(2) It's basically done, with user testing (it does not require much) and
backports it should be ready on Monday morning.

> Nikos
>  and what I've learned from GRASS GIS :-) when using other GIS software:
>> first check SRSs of my data, open GIS software, define SRS and then load
>> data.
>> my 0.02c
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