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

Maris Nartiss maris.gis at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 23:34:21 PST 2015

This thread has exposed a problem with GRASS GIS - lack of clear
vision (target auditory, "market niche").

I agree with Anna - startup screen is a problem only on the first time
and it goes away with training. We must keep in mind that GRASS is
more often launched not for the first time than for the first time -
make it easy for daily use not "I am just astrosurfing" use.

If you have been trying AutoCAD, MicroStation, you would know -
complex user interface, hard to run for the first time is not a
problem - I see new "GIS" users using those two "GIS" programs every
day and their count is not declining.

Please, let's not try to compete with QGIS in ease of use, as we will
lose due to lack of manpower and different goals (quality and power
over ease of use). Spatial data is hard. High quality analysis is
hard. Let's keep GRASS professional by providing easy way how to do it
right (and not a easy way how to do it wrong).

I would suggest to add a launch wizard that would take user through
location -> mapset etc. steps with nice explanations, etc. and nice
chekcbox "Do not show this wizard next time" - thus first time runners
would get their "let me google this for you" type hand holding, but it
would be easy to keep powerful startup screen for daily use.

Just 0.02

2015-01-22 17:27 GMT+02:00 Anna Petrášová <kratochanna at gmail.com>:
> On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 9:41 AM, Martin Landa <landa.martin at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> 2015-01-22 9:48 GMT+01:00 Markus Metz <markus.metz.giswork at gmail.com>:
>> > A suggestion for a compromise:
>> >
>> > Have a minimal welcome screen that says something like
>> > "Starting GRASS GIS in location X, mapset Y"
>> > nothing else, no list of all the available locations and mapsets
>> >
>> > Only two buttons: OK, Change
>> > Make OK the default, Change will bring up the current welcome screen.
>> >
>> > The user has then just to hit enter and GRASS is running. This would
>> > reduce the (confusing) amount of information on the current welcome
>> > screen. It would also give more space for a little graphic ;-)
>> >
>> > Location and mapset can be taken from GISRC, if that does not exist,
>> > create a new GISDBASE in the user's home, put the demolocation in it
>> > and use this (I think the wingrass installer is already doing that).
>> it make sense to me, I really like this idea. Martin
> 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?
> Anna
>> --
>> Martin Landa
>> http://geo.fsv.cvut.cz/gwiki/Landa
>> http://gismentors.eu/mentors/landa
>> _______________________________________________
>> grass-dev mailing list
>> grass-dev at lists.osgeo.org
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/grass-dev
> _______________________________________________
> grass-dev mailing list
> grass-dev at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/grass-dev

More information about the grass-dev mailing list