Workshop: Automated analysis of elevation data in R+SAGA/GRASS

Workshop moderators:

  1. Tomislav Hengl (University of Amsterdam)
  2. Carlos H. Grohmann (University of Sao Paulo)

LocationRoom 25H86/92. This is a double room with a divider. Access will be through a locked door.

Internet: YES (Ethernet)

Please let us know about your impression of SAGA/GRASS by filling out this web-form.


Fig: Room 25H86/92

Daily programme:

DAY 1 29.08.2009


Introduction to the workshop
Introduction to SAGA/GRASS; history and main functionality; the role of open source software; (T. Hengl, C.H. Grohmman)

Coffee break
Installation of necessary packages (R, SAGA, GRASS, Google Earth)
Introduction to the case study: “Fishcamp”
Computer exercises in SAGA: loading data, running SAGA commands from R and scripting, interpretation of results (T. Hengl, C.H. Grohmman)
Computer exercises (individual)
Coffee break
Solving computer exercises (with assistance)
Q & A’s / final discussion (T. Hengl)
Dinner at the campus (optional)

DAY 2 30.08.2009


Introduction to GRASS GIS: main functionality and operations; GRASS syntax (C.H. Grohmman)

Coffee break

Computer exercises in GRASS: loading data, running GRASS commands from R and scripting, interpretation of results (demonstration)

(C.H. Grohmman, T. Hengl)
Computer exercises (individual)
Coffee break
Solving computer exercises (C.H. Grohmman)
Dinner in the city (optional)

Late registrations: 15th of August; after that no more registrations are possible;

Description: This workshop aims at PhD students and professionals interested to use open source software packages for processing of their elevation data. R is the open-source version of the S language for statistical computing; SAGA (System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses) and GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) are the two most used open-source desktop GIS for automated analysis of elevation data. A combination of R+SAGA/GRASS provides a full integration of statistics and geomorphometry. The topics in this workshop will range from selection of grid cell size, choice of algorithms for DEM generation and filtering, to geostatistical simulations and error propagation. The workshop moderators will demonstrate that R+SAGA/GRASS is capable of handling such demanding tasks as DEM generation from auxiliary maps, automated classification of landforms, and sub-grid parameterization of surface models.

The course will focus on understanding R and SAGA/GRASS syntax and building scripts that can be used to automate DEM-data processing. Each participant should come with a laptop PC and install all software needed prior to the workshop. Registered participants will receive an USB stick with all data sets and overheads at the beginning of the course.
Participants will follow a case study that focuses on generation of DEMs, extraction of DEM parameters and landform classes, and implementation of error propagation in geomorphometry.



Please make sure you come to this workshop with software already installed and running. You need to install at least (please respect the chronological order):

  1. R (2.9)
    • after the installation open R and install necessary packages (install.views(“Spatial”))
    • install separately packages “spgrass6” and “RSAGA”
  2. Tinn-R
  3. GRASS GIS (6.4)
  4. SAGA GIS (2.0.3)
    • the latest version of SAGA will be distributed at the beginning of the workshop!

For simplicity, try to come with a Windows OS, possibly with a dual boot (Linux or Mac OS as the 2nd OS).
Here are some examples of code that you could test under your machine.

  • "International Society for Geomorphometry (ISG) is a non-commercial, nongovernmental association of researchers and experts that are open for free exchange of knowledge and opinions about various aspects of DEM processing and Digital Terrain Modeling."

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