[GRASSLIST:2629] Where's the (attribute) data?

cmbarton michael.barton at asu.edu
Wed Oct 31 11:55:00 EST 2001

I am posting to the GRASS list in hopes of being guided the best 
information source. Please reply directly to me as I am not yet a 
grasslist subscriber. Please feel free to direct me to a source of 

I am a long-time GIS user (over a decade with MapInfo and ArcView) who 
is now learning GRASS as an alternative to ArcInfo and because of its 
use in Europe, where I do archaeological research. Over the past few 
weeks I have managed to compile GRASS, then replace it with the new 
5.0pre2 binaries for Mac OSX (THANKS to whoever posted these), bring in 
a LandSat TM (currently in LAN format), an ArcInfo grid of a DEM, and an 
ArcView shape file from my research area in Spain.

The graphics/map part of GRASS seems pretty straightforward, thought 
there is clearly much to learn. However, I am struggling with the 
attribute data. Specifically, I can't find it. I have read all the GRASS 
man pages for the various db.* modules. While I understand them, there 
seems to be something missing. I have searched FAQ's, the GRASS SQL list 
archives, and any other on-line data I could find to no avail 
(unfortunately, the only packaged 'tutorials' seem to be in non-english 
and non-spanish languages). Clearly, I need to find some way to get a 
gestalt on how GRASS handles attribute data. However, I can start with a 
couple of specific questions that might point me in the right direction.

1. Within GRASS (i.e., NOT linking to an exterior DBMS) are all GRASS 
maps (vector, site, and raster) limited to a single column of attribute 
data or can some (e.g., vector) have more than one data column 

2. However many columns of data permitted, how does one get at this 
attribute data to manage it? There doesn't seem to be much (or any? or 
can I simply not find it?)  that came in from ArcView with my vector arc 

3. I have futzed with the PostgreSQL and DBMI modules a bit (and read 
the associated man pages). I now have PostgreSQL installed, but the 
Postgres routines don't seem to realize that.

4. DBMI is looking for a dbmscap file. I can't find one. Do I have to 
make one with a text processor? Where should I put it?

5. I installed Unix ODBC, but can't find any drivers. For that matter, I 
can't find any drivers that look like DBMS drivers in the GRASS drivers 
folder. Any idea where to get them?

6. IF I had drivers and a dbmscap file, could I THEN see existing 
attribute data or would I need to make new data tables?

Sorry for the long set of questions. I hope someone out there can help 
point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance.

Michael Barton, Professor & Curator
Department of Anthropology
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ  85287-2402

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