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

Blumentrath, Stefan Stefan.Blumentrath at nina.no
Thu Jan 22 11:31:48 PST 2015

I fully support Anna here.

Again, in addition

-        the startup screen - as it is now - gives a good overview over existing data in the GRASSS DB, that is valuable information for me

-        probably hiding the path to the GISDBASE (once that is defined in the user profile) behind a button (there is already a “Browse” button anyway) may tempt student or other beginners less to create new GISDBASE folder at every startup (which is what I saw a couple of times, because this was the first thing we did at a course). Yet, a reasonable predefined path might be an even better solution in this regards.

-        I am still a bit skeptical regarding the a lat/long default location. If people use it, they probably either do stupid things to their data (as Anna mentioned) or run stupid analysis which are not technically sound. Or they run into problems e.g. regarding reprojection quite soon… That could be worse than a challenging startup… If they do not use it, I guess they wonder what it is for …

-        Since the Location / Mapset is a fundamental in GRASS, I am not sure if it really does good to hide it.

-        Would not a “wizard” (like e.g. the three steps Michaled proposed) which shows up only at first time startup (when no relevant information is in the user profile) be able to provide enough guidance for new users?
Vaclav`s subtle improvements look good by the way.
Sorry if I am a bit conservative, that is only because you all created a remarkably piece of software and I a am happy that I can use it freely every day at work… ;-)
However I also like an experimental approach to GIS, so give it a shot and let`s see…

As for the reprojection at import (I would be happy about such a feature too), there are already two (duplicate) tickets in trac:
(I just removed the duplicate)


From: grass-dev-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:grass-dev-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Anna Petrášová

I am not particularly fond of this idea, I change location and mapset quite often, so this is additional step. I agree GISDBASE and the demolocation should be already there during the first start. Then the user can just hits Start GRASS on the current welcome dialog and there is no need for the minimal welcome screen. It works like this for Windows already. It creates grassdata in My Documents if I remember correctly, I am not sure why not in home.

What I struggle with when explaining students how to use GRASS is not really the welcome screen but reprojecting data. If we would find a way to automatically reproject data during import, that would save a lot of work and explanation and it's useful not just for beginners. This is a topic for a different thread, how exactly it should be implemented. No matter what we decide to do with the starting of grass, this should be implemented. Especially when user will start with empty location, they will want to import their data and then the reprojection is crucial. I saw a lot of cases when they just override the projection check to overcome the error they get and don't read.

Any opinion on what can we do for this release?


Martin Landa
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