Note: A new GRASS GIS stable version has been released: GRASS GIS 7.8, available here.

Updated manual page: here

**-u**- Uniformly distributed cell values
**--overwrite**- Allow output files to overwrite existing files
**--help**- Print usage summary
**--verbose**- Verbose module output
**--quiet**- Quiet module output
**--ui**- Force launching GUI dialog

**output**=*string[,**string*,...]**[required]**- Name for output raster map(s)
**distance**=*float*- Maximum distance of spatial correlation (value >= 0.0)
- Default:
*0.0* **exponent**=*float*- Distance decay exponent (value > 0.0)
- Default:
*1.0* **flat**=*float*- Distance filter remains flat before beginning exponent
- Default:
*0.0* **seed**=*integer*- Random seed, default [random]
**high**=*integer*- Maximum cell value of distribution
- Default:
*255*

The random surface generated are composed of floating point numbers, and
saved in the category description files of the output map(s). Cell values
are uniformly or normally distributed between 1 and high values inclusive
(determined by whether the **-u** flag is used). The category names
indicate the average floating point value and the range of floating point
values that each cell value represents.

*r.random.surface's* original goal is to generate random fields for
spatial error modeling. A procedure to use *r.random.surface* in
spatial error modeling is given in the **NOTES** section.

**output**- Random surface(s). The cell values are a random distribution
between the low and high values inclusive. The category values of the
output map(s) are in the form
*#.# #.# to #.#*where each #.# is a floating point number. The first number is the average of the random values the cell value represents. The other two numbers are the range of random values for that cell value. The*average*mean value of generated`output`map(s) is 0. The*average*variance of map(s) generated is 1. The random values represent the standard deviation from the mean of that random surface. **distance**- Distance determines the spatial dependence of the output map(s). The distance value indicates the minimum distance at which two map cells have no relationship to each other. A distance value of 0.0 indicates that there is no spatial dependence (i.e., adjacent cell values have no relationship to each other). As the distance value increases, adjacent cell values will have values closer to each other. But the range and distribution of cell values over the output map(s) will remain the same. Visually, the clumps of lower and higher values gets larger as distance increases. If multiple values are given, each output map will have multiple filters, one for each set of distance, exponent, and weight values.
**exponent**- Exponent determines the distance decay exponent for a particular
filter. The exponent value(s) have the property of determining
the
*texture*of the random surface. Texture will decrease as the exponent value(s) get closer to 1.0. Normally, exponent will be 1.0 or less. If there are no exponent values given, each filter will be given an exponent value of 1.0. If there is at least one exponent value given, there must be one exponent value for each distance value. **flat**- Flat determines the distance at which the filter.
**weight**- Weight determines the relative importance of each filter. For example, if there were two filters driving the algorithm and weight=1.0, 2.0 was given in the command line: The second filter would be twice as important as the first filter. If no weight values are given, each filter will be just as important as the other filters defining the random field. If weight values exist, there must be a weight value for each filter of the random field.
**high**- Specifies the high end of the range of cell values in the output
map(s). Specifying a very large high value will minimize
the
*errors*caused by the random surface's discretization. The word errors is in quotes because errors in discretization are often going to cancel each other out and the spatial statistics are far more sensitive to the initial independent random deviates than any potential discretization errors. **seed**- Specifies the random seed(s), one for each map,
that
*r.random.surface*will use to generate the initial set of random values that the resulting map is based on. If the random seed is not given,*r.random.surface*will get a seed from the process ID number.

*r.random.surface* builds the random surface using a filter algorithm
smoothing a map of independent random deviates. The size of the filter is
determined by the largest distance of spatial dependence. The shape of the
filter is determined by the distance decay exponent(s), and the various
weights if different sets of spatial parameters are used. The map of
independent random deviates will be as large as the current region PLUS the
extent of the filter. This will eliminate edge effects caused by the
reduction of degrees of freedom. The map of independent random deviates will
ignore the current mask for the same reason.

One of the most important uses for *r.random.surface* is to determine
how the error inherent in raster maps might effect the analyses done with
those maps.

As part of my dissertation, I put together several programs that help GRASS (4.1 and beyond) develop uncertainty models of spatial data. I hope you find it useful and dependable. The following papers might clarify their use:

- Ehlschlaeger, C.R., Shortridge, A.M., Goodchild, M.F., 1997. Visualizing spatial data uncertainty using animation. Computers & Geosciences 23, 387-395. doi:10.1016/S0098-3004(97)00005-8
- Modeling Uncertainty in Elevation Data for Geographical Analysis, by Charles R. Ehlschlaeger, and Ashton M. Shortridge. Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling, Delft, Netherlands, August 1996.
- Dealing with Uncertainty in Categorical Coverage Maps: Defining, Visualizing, and Managing Data Errors, by Charles Ehlschlaeger and Michael Goodchild. Proceedings, Workshop on Geographic Information Systems at the Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Gaithersburg MD, 1994.
- Uncertainty in Spatial Data: Defining, Visualizing, and Managing Data Errors, by Charles Ehlschlaeger and Michael Goodchild. Proceedings, GIS/LIS'94, pp. 246-253, Phoenix AZ, 1994.

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Available at: r.random.surface source code (history)

Note: A new GRASS GIS stable version has been released: GRASS GIS 7.8, available here.

Updated manual page: here

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