Analytics and visualization with

GRASS GIS, Blender and Tangible Landscape

Vaclav Petras, Anna Petrasova, Payam Tabrizian, Brendan Harmon, Helena Mitasova

NCSU OSGeoREL at Center for Geospatial Analytics

July, 2017

Session 1: Hands-on intro to GRASS GIS and Blender

  1. Intro to GRASS GIS
  2. Visualizing landscapes with GRASS GIS
  3. Batch processing with GRASS GIS
  4. Intro to visualization of geospatial data in Blender

Session 2: Solving independent visualization tasks

  • Creating animations in GRASS GIS
  • Batch rendering in GRASS GIS
  • Blender example: Light up the terrain with viewsheds
  • Tangibly explore landscapes



  • developed since 1984 as open source
  • runs everywhere (from Raspberry Pie to supercomputers, 32/64bit)
  • highly interoperable (Python, R, GDAL, QGIS)

GRASS GIS: functionality

  • raster and 3D raster (volume) processing
  • vector topological processing and network analysis
  • imagery processing
  • spatio-temporal data handling

GRASS GIS as geospatial development platform

  • user-contributed addons in Python, C, C++
  • specialized analyses in the fields of geomorphology, hydrology, landscape ecology, land change modeling, object segmentation, ...
Landform classification with addon r.geomorphon



Free and open source 3D modeling and game engine software

Easy scripting with Python

Addons for importing and publishing geospatial data

                   BlenderGIS addon                                             Sketchfab addon

Real-time realistic rendering and immersion at viewport

   Virtual-reality addon with Oculus Dk2                  Real-time Cycles rendering

Tangible Landscape

Tangible Landscape: real-time coupling with GIS

Tangible Landscape couples a digital and a physical model through a continuous cycle of 3D scanning, geospatial modeling, and projection.


Immersive Tangible Landscape Modeling

Real-time updating a georeferenced 3D model of the landscape based on user interaction with Tangible Landscape

Software Architecture