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Mapnik Installation

Mapnik runs on Linux, OS X, Windows, and BSD systems.

To configure and build Mapnik do:


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

JOBS=4 make

Mapnik needs > 2 GB of RAM to build. If you use parallel compilation it needs more.

If you are on a system with less memory make sure you only build with one JOB:

JOBS=1 make

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):

git submodule update --init
make test

Install like:

make install

If you need to uninstall do:

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
      • 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)

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
  • 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)

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

Python Bindings

Python bindings are not included by default. You'll need to add those separately.

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/ for resources for getting involved with Mapnik development.

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