I have a large set of rasters in a GRASS mapset, which I would like to use as frames in an animation, visualizing the raster data as elevation. NVIZ is an obvious tool for this, but I'm having trouble getting started. Here's my basic approach so far. I'm starting with grey scale rasters that are actually RGB +alpha where R=G=B. I load one color channel from each raster into nviz as follows:

nviz elevation=file1.tif.blue@default,file2.tif.blue@default,...

This starts up NVIZ as expected for <12 files. With more than 12 files, the first 12 load successfully and then the process fails like this (tail end of log only):

Loading raster map <mean-L1-A1-000011_clipped.tif.blue@default>...
Translating colors from raster map
WARNING: Loading data failed
WARNING: Loading data failed
WARNING: Loading data failed
zsh: segmentation fault  nviz

Do you have any idea why this is and how I can fix it? I'll need to load several hundred file at least, to pull off the animation.

EDIT: In the interest of full-disclosure, and because I might be goofing with shell commands, here's what I'm actually entering at the GRASS command line. My original post was intended as a minimal example.

nviz elevation=`cat /Users/gregory/SimData/blue_channel.txt tr '\n' ','`

Where the file blue_channel.txt contains 659 lines has the form:


In order to test cases with different numbers of files as input for the elevation parameter, I'm varying the number of files passed to head in the syntax:

nviz elevation=cat /Users/gregory/SimData/blue_channel.txt | head -10 | tr '\n' ',' | sed -e 's/,$//g'

I've also tested that the problem isn't with specific files (seemed unlikely). For example, nviz does not crash on files 1-10, or 11-20, but it does crash on files 1-20.


1 Answer 1


You are using the "elevation" parameter twice for nviz... Likely you want to use the color parameter. Furthermore, to drape a RGB composite over a DEM, combine the channels first with r.composite and load into NVIZ:

nviz elevation=dem elevation=r_g_b_composite

Example: Screenshot (currently the second there)

By loading the color channels separately, you obtain a stack of maps (R, G, B, ...). If you want to really achieve this, then you need to load the DEM as many times as color images exist:

nviz elevation=dem,dem,dem elevation=r_band,g_band,b_band

which is just a different thing.

Example: Screenshot (currently the first there)

  • I goofed; the elevation parameter was not actually used twice (just tried again to be sure). I've corrected that in the post.
    – Gregory
    Mar 24, 2013 at 13:43
  • I don't think that I want to use the color parameter, as I want to visualize the data in the rasters as an animated time-series of elevation models. There is no real DEM involved (unless you count the rasters that I want to visualize as such). Because R=G=B for all pixels in images, it made sense to me to use a single channel.
    – Gregory
    Mar 24, 2013 at 13:51
  • Now I get it, yes, at this point you don't want a DEM but use the bands as "elevation" information.
    – markusN
    Mar 24, 2013 at 20:38

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