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GeoCam Share Installation

These installation instructions are a work in progress. If you follow the directions and run into problems, let us know!

We will go through two versions of the installation:

  1. Basic installation using Django's built-in development web server and a SQLite database. This version is only suitable for quick testing due to security and performance issues.
  2. Advanced installation using the Apache web server and a MySQL database. This version is intended for real deployments.


Our primary development platform for GeoCam Share is Ubuntu Linux 10.04 (Lucid Lemur), running Python 2.6 and Django 1.2. For the basic installation we use Django's built-in development web server with a SQLite 3.6 database. For the advanced installation we use the Apache 2.2 web server hosting Python using mod_wsgi 2.8, with a MySQL 5.1 database.

We have also successfully installed parts of GeoCam Share on RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.5, Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and an Ubuntu virtual machine running under VMWare on a Windows host. However, we do not officially support those platforms. Our installation instructions below assume Ubuntu. We also have tips for other operating systems.

Set Up an Install Location

Let's create a directory to hold the whole Share installation and capture the path in an environment variable we can use in the instructions below:

export GEOCAM_DIR=$HOME/projects/geocam # or choose your own
mkdir -p $GEOCAM_DIR

Get the Source

Check out our latest source revision with:

git clone git:// geocamShare

For more information on the Git version control system, visit the Git home page. You can install Git on Ubuntu with:

sudo apt-get install git-core

Optionally Install virtualenv (Recommended)

Especially for a quick test install, we recommend using the virtualenv tool to put Share-related Python packages in an isolated sandbox where they won't conflict with other Python tools on your system.

To install virtualenv, create a sandbox named packages, and "activate" the sandbox:

sudo apt-get install python-virtualenv
virtualenv packages
source packages/bin/activate

After your sandbox is activated, package management tools such as easy_install and pip will install packages into your sandbox rather than the standard system-wide Python directory, and the Python interpreter will know how to import packages installed in your sandbox.

You'll need to source the activate script every time you log in to reactivate the sandbox.

Install Non-Python Packages

First install Ubuntu packages:

# tools for Python package compilation and management
sudo apt-get install python2.6-dev python-pip

# basic database
sudo apt-get install sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev

# rendering icons and reading image metadata
sudo apt-get install libjpeg-dev libimage-exiftool-perl imagemagick

Set Up GeoCam Share

To install Python dependencies, render icons and collect media for the server, run:

cd $GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare
./ bootstrap --yes
source $GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare/
./ prep

You'll need to source the file every time you open a new shell if you want to run Share-related Python scripts such as starting the Django development web server. The file will also take care of activating your virtualenv environment in new shells (if you were in a virtualenv when you ran

To initialize the database:

$GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare/ syncdb

The syncdb script will ask you if you want to create a Django superuser. We recommend answering 'yes' and setting the admin username to root for compatibility with our utility scripts.

Import Sample Data

To download and import 37 sample photos:

cd $GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare
curl -O
tar xfz geocamShareSampleData.tar.gz
python apps/geocamLens/bin/ --user=root geocamShareSampleData/

You can also clean out all the photos in the database by running with the -c "clean" option. This is handy if there's a problem and you want to try importing the sample data again.

Try It Out

To run the Django development web server:

$GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare/ runserver

Now you're ready to try it out! If you can open a web browser on the same host where Share is installed, you can start using the app by visiting http://localhost:8000/ in that browser.

Connecting to the Django Development Web Server From a Remote Host

For security, the Django development web server only accepts connections from the host where it is running. Let's suppose the host you're sitting at is called myclient and the host running Share is called myserver. Here are some workarounds you can use to connect to the app from a remote host:

  1. Quick and insecure. Use a different command to start the Django development web server, telling it to accept connections from outside hosts:

    $GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare/ runserver

    then visit http://myserver:8000/ in your browser.

  2. Use an SSH tunnel. On myclient, run the following to open up a secure SSH tunnel to myserver, so that your browser's request will appear to come from myserver:

    ssh -L 8000:localhost:8000 myserver -N

    then visit http://localhost:8000/ in your browser.

    Those instructions assume you have a command-line SSH available on myclient, but you can also open up tunnels with graphical SSH clients on Windows and Mac; check the help for your client.

  3. Use remote desktop software to start up a desktop session on myserver so that you can run a browser there, then visit http://localhost:8000/ . This approach won't work as well as an SSH tunnel over a slow network connection, but might have other advantages. There are many remote desktop solutions to choose from. The VNC protocol is commonly used -- for more information, see the documentation on VNC for Ubuntu.

Advanced Installation

These advanced installation instructions explain how to set up Share for a production environment using the standard Apache/MySQL web stack. We assume you've already gone through the basic installation instructions above.

We'll just cover the minimal steps you need to install the web stack on Ubuntu and get it to serve the Share app. We won't spend much time talking about how to manage your web stack, which is very important for a real deployment. There's lots of reference material for that available on the web.

Advanced Installation: Install Dependencies

First install the Apache/MySQL Ubuntu packages:

# Apache and mod_wsgi Python hosting environment
sudo apt-get install apache2 libapache2-mod-wsgi

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

During installation of the MySQL package you should be prompted to enter a password for the MySQL root user. We'll refer to that password as MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD below. The Ubuntu MySQL docs have more information.

Then install the Python MySQL driver. For this command to work, you will either need to make sure your virtualenv environment is activated (as explained above) or run with sudo:

pip install MySQL-python==1.2.2

Advanced Installation: Initialize MySQL

To tell Share to use MySQL as its database, add the following to your geocamShare/ file. This overrides the default setting to use a SQLite database:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'mysql',
        'NAME': 'geocamShare',
        'USER': 'root',
        'HOST': ''

To initialize the MySQL geocamShare database:

mysqladmin -u root -p create geocamShare
$GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare/ syncdb

Next, you should import some sample data for testing, following the instructions above.

Advanced Installation: Configure Web Server

Before configuring Apache to load Share, we recommend adjusting its settings so that it only accepts connections from localhost. This will provide a safer environment in which to do our setup and test the installation before opening it up to external threats.

In the file /etc/apache2/ports.conf, edit the Listen line to the following:


Now tell Apache how to start Share by copying Share config files to a location where Apache will load them:

sudo cp $GEOCAM_DIR/build/apache2/*.conf /etc/apache2/conf.d/

By default, Share requires users to log in before they can use the app. Internet best practices require passwords to be sent over the network encrypted (using SSL). If your Apache server does not already support SSL, you can set it up with:

sudo apt-get install apache2-ssl-certificate

For more information on generating SSL certificates, see: link1 link2.

Note: The command above installs a self-signed certificate, which is not ideal. Because the certificate is self-signed, your users' web browser cannot confirm the identity of your server, and a malicious host could pretend to be your server and steal user passwords. Most web browsers will also give your users a nasty security warning when they try to connect.

To avoid these problems in a production environment, you'll need to pay a certificate authority to sign your certificate, a fairly complicated process we won't go into.

If you want to skip past all the security setup, for testing purposes only, you can edit $GEOCAM_DIR/geocamShare/ and set:


Advanced Installation: Try It Out

Restart Apache to load the new configuration:

sudo apache2ctl restart

Now you're ready to try out it out! You should now be able to access your Share installation at http://myserver/share/ .

We recommend doing some testing to make sure you understand your security settings in terms of what anonymous and registered users can access before opening up your server to outside connections for real usage.

Advanced Installation: Administration and Adding Users

You can perform many Share administrative functions using the Django admin interface located at http://myserver/share/admin/ .

One vital function is to add user accounts. In the admin interface, find the Users row and click Add. You'll be prompted for the new user's username and password. Once the user is created, you'll be taken to an editing interface where you can enter additional information such as name and email address. In the Permissions section, you can give the user Staff status, which allows them to view the admin interface, or Superuser status, which allows them to edit the database and manage user accounts.

Unfortunately, we don't currently provide an interface for users to change their own user profile information, including their password.

Advanced Installation: Multiple Instances of Share On the Same Host

Share is designed to support running multiple instances sharing the same host and potentially the same Apache and MySQL servers. You might want to do this if you are testing different configurations of Share. To do this:

  1. Unpack and build two copies of Share in different directories.

  2. The Django database settings are in, as explained above. You can set your instances of Share to use the same MySQL server and create multiple databases with different names (change the NAME field), or have them connect to different MySQL servers on different ports (add a colon and port number to the HOST field).

  3. The /share/ path suffix in the URL is set using the DJANGO_SCRIPT_NAME field in the file. If you want your instances of Share to run on the same web server, you can avoid URL conflicts by giving them distinct DJANGO_SCRIPT_NAME settings.

  4. Apache's instructions for loading Share are in the httpd-geocamShare.conf file, which we installed above. If you're running multiple instances of Share on the same Apache server, you'll want two different versions of that file in the /etc/apache2/conf.d/ directory, one for each instance.

    Run python install again after changing DJANGO_SCRIPT_NAME to regenerate the .conf files. The auto-generated version should be mostly correct, but you'll want to make sure that the mod_wsgi process group settings are different. By default, the process group is set to your username plus Share (for example username trey gets process group treyShare). You can global search-and-replace the process group in one of the files if needed.

    Regardless of how many Share instances you run, you only need one copy of the httpd-geocamShare-mimetypes.conf file per web server.

Copyright (C) 2008-2010 United States Government as represented by
the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
All Rights Reserved.
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