Semi-Automatic OS: a Virtual Machine for Semi-Automatic Classifications

This post is to inform you about the availability of the virtual machine Semi-Automatic OS.

The Semi-Automatic OS is a lightweight virtual machine for the land cover classification of remote sensing images and GIS analyses. It includes the Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin for QGIS 1.8, already configured along with all the required dependencies (SEXTANTE plugin, Orfeo Toolbox, SAGA GIS, and Matplotlib).

The Semi-Automatic OS is based on Ubuntu 12.04 Precise 32-bit, and it is designed to require very little hardware resources. It uses LXDE and Openbox as main desktop environment.
This virtual machine can be useful for testing the Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin, or when the installation of the required programs in the host system is problematic.

The following is a guide for the installation of the Semi-Automatic OS in the open source program of virtualization VirtualBox.
The main installation steps are:
  1. Download VirtualBox open source software from here (select a proper version depending on your OS) and install it; at the end of the installation restart the system;
  2. Download the Semi-Automatic OS virtual machine (about 400 MB) from here;
  3. Extract the virtual machine content in a directory (it requires about 2 GB of disk space); the file is compressed in 7z format (if needed, download the open source extraction software from;
  4. Run VirtualBox and create a new Ubuntu virtual machine;
    • Click the New button;
    • Type a name for the virtual machine (for instance Semi-Automatic OS); select Linux and Ubuntu as Type and Version respectively; click Next;

    • Set the memory size; the more is the better, but this parameter should not exceed a half of he host system RAM (for instance if the host system has 1 GB of RAM, type 512 MB); click Next;

    • In the Hard drive settings select Use an existing virtual hard drive file and select the downloaded file Semi-Automatic OS.vmdk; click Create;

  1. Start the Semi-Automatic OS by clicking the Start button;
  2. It is recommended to install the virtualbox-guest-utils in the virtual machine, from the Menu > Preferences > Synaptic Package Manager; it allows for a better integration of the Semi-Automatic OS in the host system, such as: the resize of the system window, or the folder sharing.
The Semi-Automatic OS includes a sample dataset (Landsat 8 images available from the U.S. Geological Survey) that can be used for testing purposes.

Semi-Automatic OS