Python bindings for mapnik
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Python bindings for Mapnik.


Eventually we hope that many people will simply be able to pip install mapnik in order to get prebuilt binaries, this currently does not work though. So for now here are the instructions

Create a virtual environment

It is highly suggested that you a python virtualenv when developing on mapnik.

Building from Mason

If you do not have mapnik built from source and simply wish to develop from the latest version in mapnik master branch you can setup your environment with a mason build. In order to trigger a mason build prior to building you must set the MASON_BUILD environment variable.

export MASON_BUILD=true

After this is done simply follow the directions as per a source build.

Building from Source

Assuming that you built your own mapnik from source, and you have run make install. Set any compiler or linking environment variables as necessary so that your installation of mapnik is found. Next simply run one of the two methods:

python develop

If you are currently developing on mapnik-python and wish to change the code in place and immediately have python changes reflected in your environment.

python install

If you wish to just install the package.

python develop --uninstall

Will de-activate the development install by removing the python-mapnik entry from site-packages/easy-install.pth.

If you need Pycairo, make sure that PYCAIRO is set to true in your environment or run:

PYCAIRO=true python develop

Building against Mapnik 3.0.x

The master branch is no longer compatible with 3.0.x series of Mapnik. To build again Mapnik 3.0.x, use v3.0.x branch.


Once you have installed you can test the package by running:

git submodule update --init
python test

The test data in ./test/data and ./test/data-visual are standalone modules. If you need to update them see


If you hit an error like:

Fatal Python error: PyThreadState_Get: no current thread
Abort trap: 6

That means you likely have built python-mapnik is linked against a differ python version than what you are running. To solve this try running:

/usr/bin/python <your>

If you hit an error like the following when building with mason:

Missing boost_python boost library, try to add its name with BOOST_PYTHON_LIB environment var.

Try to set export BOOST_PYTHON_LIB=boost_python before build. Also, if boost_thread or boost_system is missing, do likewise:

export BOOST_SYSTEM_LIB=boost_system
export BOOST_THREAD_LIB=boost_thread

If you still hit a problem create an issue and we'll try to help.