GRASS Raster Format

Driver short name


Build dependencies


GDAL optionally supports reading of existing GRASS GIS raster maps or imagery groups, but not writing or export. The support for GRASS raster format is determined when the library is configured, and requires libgrass to be pre-installed (see Notes below).

GRASS raster maps/imagery groups can be selected in several ways.

  1. The full path to the cellhd file can be specified. This is not a relative path, or at least it must contain all the path components within the GRASS database including the database root itself. The following example opens the raster map “elevation” within the GRASS mapset “PERMANENT” of the GRASS location “myloc” in the GRASS database located at /data/grassdb.

    For example:

    gdalinfo /data/grassdb/myloc/PERMANENT/cellhd/elevation
  2. The full path to the directory containing information about an imagery group (or the REF file within it) can be specified to refer to the whole group as a single dataset. The following examples do the same thing.

    For example:

    gdalinfo /data/grassdb/imagery/raw/group/testmff/REF
    gdalinfo /data/grassdb/imagery/raw/group/testmff
  3. If there is a correct .grassrc7/rc (GRASS 7) setup file in the user’s home directory then raster maps or imagery groups may be opened just by the cell or group name. This only works for raster maps or imagery groups in the current GRASS location and mapset as defined in the GRASS setup file.

The following features are supported by the GDAL/GRASS link.

  • Up to 256 entries from raster colormaps are read (0-255).

  • Compressed and uncompressed integer (CELL), floating point (FCELL) and double precision (DCELL) raster maps are all supported. Integer raster maps are classified with a band type of “Byte” if the 1-byte per pixel format is used, or “UInt16” if the two byte per pixel format is used. Otherwise integer raster maps are treated as “UInt32”.

  • Georeferencing information is properly read from GRASS format.

  • An attempt is made to translate coordinate systems, but some conversions may be flawed, in particular in handling of datums and units.

Driver capabilities

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing

Notes on driver variations

The driver is able to use the GRASS GIS shared libraries directly instead of using libgrass (not recommended due to potentially circular dependencies). Currently both versions of the driver are available and can be configured using --with-libgrass for the libgrass variant or --with-grass=<dir> for the GRASS GIS library based version. The GRASS driver version currently does not support coordinate system access, though it is hoped that will be corrected at some point.