GRASS GIS on the Mac
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New fully bundled binaries of current GRASS releases.

These new binaries include all needed helper programs (dependencies), including Python and wxPython. This should work out of the box without any "frameworks" being installed, and should work with System Integrity Protection enabled (the default for the Mac - see below).

Other GRASS binaries from this site may not work with OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and above unless you disable "System Integrity Protection". A workaround to allow GRASS to run is provided below.


If you are not familiar with GRASS GIS, you should visit the main GRASS site to take a look at its features. Used throughout the world, GRASS is one of the most powerful and comprehensive geospatial analysis, visualization, and modeling tools available. In continuous use and development for over three decades, GRASS is also one of the most venerable GIS programs still in active use and development ….and it is freely available to all.

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As open source software, the code and all analytical algorithms can be scrutinized and improved. It is developed and maintained by an international team of geospatial scientists who also use the software in their daily work. GRASS is a founding member of the OSGeo Foundation (Open-Source Geospatial), an umbrella organization that provides a diversity of open-source software solutions for geospatial research, mapping, and interactive use.

In addition to the Mac, GRASS runs under Linux, Unix, and Windows. Versions for these other platforms can be found at the downloads page of GRASS main site. There are very active user and developer lists where you can have questions answered, as well as extensive help online and in the program.

GRASS for Mac Binaries

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Like other GRASS developers, I am a scientist and user of geospatial software, and volunteer my time to the GRASS project. If you use and like this software, I hope you will consider contributing to the project. There are many roles, even if you don't think of yourself as someone who can program.

As part of my own research and helping with GRASS development, I compile GRASS source code so that it runs on the Macintosh. I do this when time permits, so my releases can be irregular. But I do try to keep up with major developments and changes in the software. Currently, I have made several versions of GRASS Mac apps available on the downloads page.

The newest ones are fully bundled with all needed dependencies included in the (larger) app and run on the newest versions of Mac OS X (10.12 and above, and possibly earlier versions of OS X).

Older GRASS apps require separate installation of some dependencies as "frameworks" (provided on the frameworks page). The oldest legacy versions will run on OS X 10.6 and above up to???. Newer legacy versions will run on OS X 10.8 and above. These legacy versions use the pre-installed Python 2.7 that comes on the Mac, and have a bundled wxPython 2.8.12 (for the GUI) so that you don't have to download it. These legacy binaries also come with LAS Tools precompiled and installed for advanced LiDAR processing support. In GRASS 6, you will need to run these from the command line. In GRASS 7, they also support as set of GRASS specific LiDAR processing tools. For more information about LAS Tools, visit: http://liblas.org/utilities/lasinfo.html.

How to alter system settings in OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and newer so that older GRASS binaries will run

This is a work around that seems to allow you to run GRASS on a Mac after upgrading to the new Apple OS. It involves disabling a new System Integrity Protection feature. This reduces security of your system to the level it was before the El Capitan OS X release.

  1. Restart your Mac in Recovery Mode. To do this, choose Restart from the Apple menu, and as soon as the screen turns black hold down Command + R on the keyboard until the Apple logo appears on your screen.
  2. Select Terminal from the Utilities menu.
  3. In the Terminal Window that opens type: csrutil disable
  4. Press the Return key.
  5. Choose Restart from the Apple menu.

To reenable System Integrity Protection, follow the above steps but in the terminal, type: csrutil enable

Some people may need to reinstall frameworks for GRASS to run. For others, this is not necessary

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