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In ArcGIS rasters can have attribute tables. What FOSS GIS offers a similar option?

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3 Answers

GRASS and ILWIS both have the ability to do this.

For ILWIS:

For maps using a class or ID domain, you can create an attribute table which stores additional information on the classes or IDs in the map. Use the same class or ID domain for the attribute table as you used for the map. Then, add the attribute columns to the table. To create an attribute table, refer to How to create an attribute table.

from http://spatial-analyst.net/ILWIS/htm/ilwis/ilwis_objects_raster_maps.htm

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Thanks, ILWIS handles attribute tables for rasters well, good suggestion. In GRASS you can create categories with labels, but I don't think you can create attribute tables –  Paulo Sep 28 '11 at 14:23
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Although R is not a GIS as such, it can handle and work with spatial objects. With the 'sp' package you can import and store rasters. These are of sp objects of the class 'SpatialGridDataFrame', which includes a dataframe with the attributes; normally the raster values, but being a dataframe, it can hold any number of variables.

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And you can always convert your raster to a point shapefile or point cloud. Operations on such a files may still be faster in SAGA GIS than they are on a raster in ArcGIS.

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For relative small rasters that will work well, but not for very large raster files. –  Paulo Sep 28 '11 at 14:25
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