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Mapnik Installation

Mapnik is cross platform and runs on Linux, Mac OSX, Solaris, *BSD, and Windows.

To configure and build Mapnik do:

    $ ./configure
    $ make

To trigger parallel compilation you can pass a JOBS value to make:

    $ JOBS=4 make

(Note that compiling Mapnik needs several GBytes of RAM. If you use parallel compiliation it needs more.)

To use a Python interpreter that is not named python for your build, do something like the following instead:

    $ PYTHON=python2 ./configure
    $ make PYTHON=python2

NOTE: the above will not work on windows, rather see

Then to run the tests locally (without needing to install):

make test-local

Install like:

sudo make install

If you need to uninstall do:

sudo make uninstall

For more details see the Building Section below.

Platform specific install guides at

For troubleshooting help see


Build system dependencies are:

  • C++ compiler supporting -std=c++11 (like >= g++ 4.8 or >= clang++ 3.4)
  • >= 2 GB RAM (> 5 GB for g++)
  • Python 2.4-2.7
  • Scons (a copy is bundled)

Mapnik Core depends on:

  • Boost
    • >= 1.47 is required and >= 1.56 recommended
    • These libraries are used:
      • filesystem
      • system
      • thread (for python bindings only)
      • regex (optionally built with icu regex support)
      • program_options (optionally for mapnik command line programs)
  • libicuuc >= 4.0 (ideally >= 4.2) - International Components for Unicode
  • libz - Zlib compression
  • libfreetype - Freetype2 for font support (Install requires freetype-config)
  • libxml2 - XML parsing (Install requires xml2-config)
  • libharfbuzz - an OpenType text shaping engine (>=0.9.34 needed for CSS font-feature-settings support)

Mapnik Core optionally depends on:

  • libpng >= 1.2.x - PNG graphics (Default enabled, if found)
  • libjpeg - JPEG graphics (Default enabled, if found)
  • libtiff - TIFF graphics (Default enabled, if found)
  • libwebp - WEBP graphics (Default enabled, if found)
  • libproj - PROJ.4 projection library (Default enabled, if found)

Mapnik Python bindings depend on:

  • Python 2.5-2.7 or >= 3.2
  • Boost python
  • simplejson module if using <= 2.5

Note: Python 3.x is supported, see:

Additional optional dependencies:

  • Cairo >= 1.6.0 - Graphics library for output formats like PDF, PS, and SVG
    • pkg-config - Required for building with cairo support
    • pycairo - Python bindings for cairo
  • PostgreSQL (for PostGIS plugin support)
    • libpq - PostreSQL libraries
    • pg_config - PostgreSQL installation capabilities
  • libgdal - GDAL/OGR input (For gdal and ogr plugin support)
  • libsqlite3 - SQLite input (needs RTree support builtin) (sqlite plugin support)
  • libocci - Oracle input plugin support
  • libcurl - OSM input plugin support
  • librasterlite - Rasterlite input plugin support

Instructions for installing many of these dependencies on various platforms can be found at the Mapnik Wiki:


The build system uses SCons, a pure python equivalent to autotools or cmake.

We provide a simple Makefile wrapper that can be used like:

./configure && make && make install

For help on what options are accepted do:

./configure --help

To interact with the local copy of scons directly you can do:

python scons/ configure

You can also use a globally installed scons:

scons configure

If you want to clean your build do:

make clean

If you experience odd configure errors, try cleaning the configure caches:

make distclean

To install in a custom location do:

./configure PREFIX=/opt/mapnik

To pass custom CXXFLAGS or LDFLAGS do:

./configure CUSTOM_CXXFLAGS="-g -I/usr/include" CUSTOM_LDFLAGS="-L/usr/lib"

To pass custom paths to a dependency, like boost, do:

./configure BOOST_INCLUDES=/opt/boost/include BOOST_LIBS=/opt/boost/lib

To pass custom paths to a dependency, like icu, do:

./configure ICU_INCLUDES=/usr/local/include ICU_LIBS=/usr/local/include

For more details on usage see:

Testing Installation

You can run the Mapnik tests locally (without installing) like:

make test-local # see the Makefile for how this works

Or you can install and test like:

make install && make test

Many of the tests are written in python and you can run them individually like:

make install
python tests/python_tests/

Learning Mapnik


Mapnik has an active community of talented users and developers making beautiful maps.

If you need help or want to participate starting points include:


TileMill, which uses Mapnik internally, offers great step by step tutorials for learning advanced map styling:


Mapnik is great for building your own mapping applications. Visit for basic tutorials on how to programmatically use Mapnik.


Read docs/contributing.markdown for resources for getting involved with Mapnik development.

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