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Note: This document is for an older version of GRASS GIS that will be discontinued soon. You should upgrade, and read the current manual page.


v.greedycolors - Create greedy colors for vector areas.


vector, color table


v.greedycolors --help
v.greedycolors map=name [layer=string] [column=name] [--help] [--verbose] [--quiet] [--ui]


Print usage summary
Verbose module output
Quiet module output
Force launching GUI dialog


map=name [required]
Name of vector map
Or data source for direct OGR access
Layer number or name
Vector features can have category values in different layers. This number determines which layer to use. When used with direct OGR access this is the layer name.
Default: 1
Name of attribute column
Default: greedyclr

Table of contents


v.greedycolors assigns numbers to areas such that no two adjacent areas have the same number. At the same time, it tries to use as few numbers as possible. The numbers are stored in the attribute table, by default in the column "greedyclr" which is created if not existing. These numbers can then be used to assign RGB colors in a new column to be used with e.g. d.vect .

v.greedycolors works best if areas have unique categories. If multiple areas have the same category, the corresponding network of neighboring areas can become fairly complex, resulting in a larger number of greedy colors. If the purpose is to assign different colors to neighboring areas, irrespective of their category values, unique category values need to be assigned first, e.g. to a new layer with v.category.

There is always at least one optimal solution for greedy colors, using as few colors as possible. However, it is usually computationally intensive and not practical to search for an optimal solution. Therefore a good solution is aproximated by ordering the areas first, before assigning greedy colors. Here, the areas with the least neighbors are processed first.


Assigning greedy colors to county boundaries in the North Carolina sample dataset:

Make a copy of the data:

g.copy vect=boundary_county,my_boundary_county
Greedy colors
v.greedycolors map=my_boundary_county
Check number and frequency of greedy colors sql="select greedyclr,count(greedyclr) from my_boundary_county group by greedyclr"
four different colors were needed such that no two adjacent areas have the same color

Assign RGB colors:

v.db.addcolumn map=my_boundary_county column="GRASSRGB varchar(11)"

v.db.update map=my_boundary_county column=GRASSRGB value="127:201:127" where="greedyclr = 1"
v.db.update map=my_boundary_county column=GRASSRGB value="190:174:212" where="greedyclr = 2"
v.db.update map=my_boundary_county column=GRASSRGB value="253:192:134" where="greedyclr = 3"
v.db.update map=my_boundary_county column=GRASSRGB value="255:255:153" where="greedyclr = 4"


v.colors, v.category


Markus Metz, mundialis, Germany


Available at: v.greedycolors source code (history)

Latest change: Monday Jan 30 19:52:26 2023 in commit: cac8d9d848299297977d1315b7e90cc3f7698730

Note: This document is for an older version of GRASS GIS that will be discontinued soon. You should upgrade, and read the current manual page.

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