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Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach Paperback – 28 Dec 2009

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From the Back Cover

With this third edition of Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach, we enter the new era of GRASS6, the first release that includes substantial new code developed by the International GRASS Development Team.  The dramatic growth in open source software libraries has made GRASS6 development more efficient, and has enhanced GRASS interoperability with a wide range of open source and proprietary geospatial tools.

Thoroughly updated with material related to GRASS6, the third edition includes new sections on attribute database management and SQL support, vector networks analysis, lidar data processing and new graphical user interfaces. All chapters are updated with numerous practical examples using the first release of a comprehensive, state-of-the-art geospatial data set.

Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach, Third Edition preserves the continuity of previous editions by maintaining the book's proven structure.  This volume is structured for a professional audience composed of researchers and practitioners in government and industry, as well as graduate students interested in geospatial analysis and modeling.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book for beginners 8 April 2008
By Bernardo Mello - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I needed to use GRASS and R to produce maps with the results of statistical analysis. Though I am an experienced programmer, I had never used R neither any GIS. The tutorials available on the Internet were enough to learn R, but GRASS was a brick wall.
After reading and trying the examples until page 200, I found myself able to work with raster and vectorial maps. Since I was completely illiterate on GIS, I learned in the book how the raster and vector data are organized, how to alter and combine maps and how to manage the vector databases. The sections about R and GRASS integration was very useful. Although it was of no particular interest to me, there are several sections about spatial analysis tools, 2D and 3D output, image processing and GRASS programing.
The book is not an exhaustive descriptions of the commands, which should be found on the GRASS documentation. It is more like a hands-on tutorial that makes you familiar with the system and the commands, even if you are novice. It will also be useful for people familiar with the graphic interface of other systems who need to start working with the command line.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good introduction to the many capabilities of GRASS GIS 9 Jan. 2008
By Vishal K. Mehta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I waited several months for this 3rd edition of Neteler and Mitasova's 'Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach'. I'm not disappointed.

1. The book is a major re-write of the earlier edition, and uses GRASS version 6.x - which has many improvements from earlier GRASS versions
2. It has tons of example applications, drawn and derived from an up-to-date sample dataset for North Carolina. Examples span the fields of hydrology, remote sensing,and a large number of standard GIS operations on vector and raster datasets.
3. It is well organized and succinct in its language.

1. There are several typos.
2. Some of the examples may not exactly work on your own system - the authors acknowledge this, as each version of GRASS has some variations in dependent packages and libraries.
3. Some of the pages are not cross-referenced right.


To summarize:
I first used GRASS (version 4.3) in the year 2000. While I recognized back then how powerful GRASS is, I found it quite difficult to learn and to appreciate. In 2005-07, I revisited GRASS (version 6.0) for my dissertation research, and found that it had improved vastly. This book is an excellent way for readers to get a taste of how powerful GRASS 6.x is. It will be most useful for students and researchers who learn by doing - you will not learn GRASS (or any other GIS software) by just reading. Also, this book alone will not answer all your questions about GRASS - use the friendly and resourceful GRASS mailing lists for specific help with your own GRASS GIS projects.

Get into this book and GRASS GIS, only if you are willing to use the command line! If you are a programmer and are used to learning new languages/software, you probably do not need this book - the material on the GRASS website would be enough for you. If like me, you dont consider yourself a programmer but 'can do' when needed, this book will be very useful.

I hope that a more affordable paperback version of the third edition comes out!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for a GRASS user 8 Feb. 2008
By K. Springs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach is now on its third edition. I have all three editions. It is remarkable how much the program has advanced in six years. The third edition deals with version 6.x and is still invaluable to older users and new users alike. Many changes occurred between 5.x and 6.x. Sites have been replaced with point vectors. The GUI interface has advanced. Things are just not done the same way they used to be and since this is a UNIX program, the changes may not be intuitive for people used to the Mac or Windows OS.

GRASS is a free alternative to to ARC GIS. This book will help the user to unleash GRASS's power.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I am overly idealistic to expect quality for my hard earned dollar! 6 Mar. 2011
By Somewhat Disenchanted - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me begin by saying I have only had this book for about a week, thus I have not read it a half a dozen or so times yet and fully digested it. That being said, I would like to focus on the three topics that cause me to rate this book as a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5 - the writing, the illustration and the publishing.

Looking through the table of contents for Neteler's and Mitasova's book it is obvious that this was a fairly ambitious project, however a review of the text reveals that many of the topics are glossed over with rather rudimentary coverage. Nevertheless, strictly based on the writing I would have rated this book a 4 on a 1 to 5 scale. There are too many typos to give it a 5. As far as the illustrations I would rate this book somewhere between 0 and 0.5. For crying out loud it is a GIS book that covers such topics as `displaying raster data and assigning a color table', `image processing', `managing channels and colors', `introduction to RGB and HIS color model' and `spectrum and remote sensing' AND THERE IS NOT ONE COLOR PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION IN THE WHOLE DANG BOOK! Many of the illustrations, graphics and photos that do appear in this book are of very poor quality and resolution and not well thought out! GIS and cartography people are very visually oriented, apparently the authors ignored their audience and Springer Publishing just did not care!

As for the publishing of this tome I am VERY DISAPPOINTED with Springer Science + Business Media, LLC - the list price on this book iS $109 and it is VERY CHEAPLY MADE - the binding is shoddy, so much so, that I have my doubts that it will handle the 5 or 6 readings need to fully understand this book. As I previously mention the text contains typos and is poorly illustrated, this all reflects very badly on the publisher. The dissemination of well-appointed scientific knowledge does not appear to be one of Springer's priorities.

I must admit I am rather new to the OS world, and please do not think I have forgotten that open source software is free, but this book feels like being back in the proprietary world - where producing a top-quality product takes a distant backseat to the typical corner cutting methodologies and the pursuit of the all mighty dollar.

Yes I can see where you might be thinking this review is a bit melodramatic, and to that I would say this - $100 MAY NOT BE A LOT FOR YOU TO SPEND ON A BOOK, BUT IT IS FOR ME, I HAD TO BUDGET AND SAVE TO BUY THIS BOOK!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book that covers all major topics of using GRASS GIS 9 Oct. 2009
By Roger A. Andre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for 2 reasons: I had tried to use GRASS for vector data processing - with mixed success - in the past, and wanted to gain a better understanding of its capabilities; and also because I had just been assigned some fairly difficult elevation data processing, and raster-based spatial analysis was something I had little experience with. The book succeeds on both counts. It has well-written explanations of basic GIS principles, and also describes operations in enough detail that one can replicate them with their own data.

While an amazing GIS application (I would actually call it a "GIS environment"), GRASS is not without its quirks. The book does a good job of steering a reader around potential roadblocks, and focuses on getting one going about the business of doing useful work. For example, they recommend using the GUI to set up a project, but then have you move back to using the command line interface (CLI) and X-based display window to accomplish the bulk of the work. This is brilliant. It showcases the ease with which GRASS commands can be chained together, and how other UNIX commands can be interleaved in the command sequences. Make no mistake, this book is written for an audience that is either familiar with, or willing to learn some UNIX. That alone makes it a refreshing change from many other books which feel apologetic when they stray away from the apparent comfort of a MS Windows-based GUI. GUI's are mentioned, but only briefly, and not in a way intended to be a useful guide. People looking for how to use GRASS via a GUI'd application would be better served by Gary Sherman's "Desktop GIS" book, which discusses how to use GRASS through the excellent Quantum GIS application.

The book is logically laid out, and generally well written. There are a few small grammar quirks which tell me that the authors are not native English speakers, but they are minor, and don't actually cause the reader to stumble over any sections. Code sections are well-defined by the use of a different font, and so far I have not encountered any that contain errors. The book is well-illustrated, although at a cost of over $90, I take issue with the lack of color. This is a topic related to cartography after all, and color matters.

I highly recommend this book to people who want to learn how to use GRASS effectively, or to teachers who want to structure a GIS course around an open source application. There is enough GIS theory presented to teach an intro-to-mid-level course on GIS. GRASS gets a bad rap from many in the GIS profession, and this book should allow most people to get over the initial humps and get started with it in an effective way. Hats off to Neteler and Mitasova.
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