I've got a small clipped extent of a LANDSAT image and I need to have the single pixels as polygons in order to tell the overlap proportions of overlaying polygons. In ArcGIS I used "Raster to polygon" without simplyfying polygons and used the "identity" tool then.

What would be a good equivalent in Grass GIS?

For "raster to polygon", I found "r.to.vect", but Grass always complains that the raster is "not properly thinned". I didn't understand what 'r.thin' does and I don't want ANY changes in the raster values. Can anybody help with a "clean" solution?

EDIT: According to Micha's answer, here's an illustration of what my final goal is: enter image description here

  • 3
    According to the docs thinning is for line features. Did you remember to select "area" as the feature type in r.to.vect? (I just did a test on a random raster and it didn't complain on either type, so I'm not certain about this.)
    – Rob Skelly
    Aug 10, 2015 at 18:58
  • @RobSkelly is right, specify feature=area
    – webrian
    Aug 11, 2015 at 2:35
  • That was the error! Beginner's mistake, sorry and thank you forthe answers!!!!!
    – countryman
    Aug 11, 2015 at 5:45

3 Answers 3


According to the docs thinning is for line features. Remember to select "area" as the feature type in r.to.vect.


I think gdal_polygonize might help you. It will convert a raster to vector format (GML, shapefile, etc). By default it connects the cell that have same values, but from your description, it should not be a problem.

This text comes from the official site:

This utility creates vector polygons for all connected regions of pixels in the raster sharing a common pixel value. Each polygon is created with an attribute indicating the pixel value of that polygon. A raster mask may also be provided to determine which pixels are eligible for processing.

Below is a example converting a piece of raster to GML:

$ gdal_polygonize.py srtm_36_02.tif srtm_36_02.gml
Creating output srtm_36_02.shp of format GML.
0...10...20...30...40...50...60...70...80...90...100 - done.


  • Okay, sounds nice, but how can I use this in Grass Gis?
    – countryman
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:34
  • You can run this command from your command line (Windows, Mac or Linux). See updated of my response. Aug 10, 2015 at 18:30
  • Thank you very much! That's a useful alternative!!! (unfortunately I don't have enough reputation yet to upvote...)
    – countryman
    Aug 11, 2015 at 5:46
  • No problem :) Glad it helped. Aug 12, 2015 at 9:00

It seems that you final goal is to total raster values for each vector polygon. It's worth pointing out that the GRASS module v.rast.stats does just that.

  • Actually, it's the other way around...I want to know what the area contributions of the polygons to one LANDSAT pixel are. Maybe the little illustration in the edit helps
    – countryman
    Aug 14, 2015 at 8:02

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