Using GRASS Libraries

Douglas P. Dotson ddotson at
Wed Mar 3 10:45:51 EST 1993

I am the author of the SMAPS Cave Management System and the SMAPS/GIS
adjunct package.  SMAPS Version 5 was developed in response to a request
by the National Park Service and as such has features to import and
export GRASS sites and cell files.  This has worked well but the GRASS files
have to be moved to the DOS machine where SMAPS is running and renamed so
that the data and header files have distinct names.  I wrote my own
access functions to create and read these files (Actually the cell files
are C++ objects).

I am currently working on a MS Windows version of SMAPS and would like to
better integrate SMAPS with GRASS.  I am going to allow SMAPS to access 
GRASS data via a directory structure identical to that used within GRASS.
The concept of database, mapset, etc will exist and will be specified
in SMAPS.  For example, a cell file will be maintained in the 'cell',
'cellhd', etc directories.  This way a PC running NFS can access the 
'database' directory directly on the UNIX box running GRASS.
Any file created by GRASS will be immedeately
available to SMAPS and any files created by SMAPS will be immedeately 
available to GRASS.  A user that does not have GRASS can still create and
access GRASS format files by integrating them into the standard structure.

My question is this: Most of SMAPS is not public domain and is not likely to
ever be.  I can develop my own access functions to access GRASS files but since
I am using the standard directory structure, the GRASS library could be used.
Can I port some of the GRASS library to Windows (probably as a DLL) without
any legal problems?  Actually I would probably port the libraries and then
put C++ wrappers around them.  I would, of course, give GRASS and CERL
credit for the libraries in the documentation.

SMAPS is currently the most widely used off-the-shelf package used for cave
survey management in the world with users in 30 states and 15 countries.
The NPS has adopted SMAPS as the standard package for cave management
servicewide.  All NPS installations currently receive SMAPS at a group
discounted rate.  Not having to re-invent the wheel to process GRASS files
can substantially speed up the availability of this capability.

Any thoughts or suggestions on this subject will be appreciated.  Also,
any suggestions for features or enhancements to SMAPS will be equally

Doug Dotson, President
ddotson at
(410) 581-0422 (w)  (410) 356-9076 (h)

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