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These instructions are designed for setting up The Rails Port for development and testing. If you want to deploy the software for your own project, then see the notes at the end.

You can install the software directly on your machine, which is the traditional and probably best-supported approach. However, there is an alternative which may be easier: Vagrant. This installs the software into a virtual machine, which makes it easier to get a consistent development environment and may avoid installation difficulties. For Vagrant instructions, see

These instructions are based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is the platform used by the OSMF servers. The instructions also work, with only minor amendments, for all other current Ubuntu releases, Fedora and MacOSX

We don't recommend attempting to develop or deploy this software on Windows. If you need to use Windows, then try developing this software using Ubuntu in a virtual machine, or use Vagrant.


Many of the dependencies are managed through the standard Ruby on Rails mechanisms - i.e. ruby gems specified in the Gemfile and installed using bundler. However, there are a large number of packages required before you can get the various gems installed.

Minimum requirements

  • Ruby 2.3
  • RubyGems 1.3.1+
  • PostgreSQL 9.1+
  • ImageMagick
  • Bundler
  • Javascript Runtime

These can be installed on Ubuntu 16.04 or later with:

sudo apt-get install ruby2.3 libruby2.3 ruby2.3-dev \
                     libmagickwand-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev nodejs \
                     apache2 apache2-dev build-essential git-core \
                     postgresql postgresql-contrib libpq-dev postgresql-server-dev-all \
                     libsasl2-dev imagemagick libffi-dev
sudo gem2.3 install bundler

Alternative platforms


For Fedora, you can install the minimum requirements with:

sudo yum install ruby ruby-devel rubygem-rdoc rubygem-bundler rubygems \
                 libxml2-devel js \
                 gcc gcc-c++ git \
                 postgresql postgresql-server postgresql-contrib postgresql-devel \
                 perl-podlators ImageMagick libffi-devel

If you didn't already have PostgreSQL installed then create a PostgreSQL instance and start the server:

sudo postgresql-setup initdb
sudo systemctl start postgresql.service

Optionally set PostgreSQL to start on boot:

sudo systemctl enable postgresql.service


For MacOSX, you will need XCode installed from the Mac App Store; OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later; and some familiarity with Unix development via the Terminal.

Installing PostgreSQL:

nano ~/.profile

and adding:

export PATH=/Applications/$PATH

Installing other dependencies:

  • Install Homebrew from
  • Install the latest version of Ruby: brew install ruby
  • Install ImageMagick: brew install imagemagick
  • Install libxml2: brew install libxml2 --with-xml2-config
  • If you want to run the tests, you need phantomjs as well: brew install phantomjs
  • Install Bundler: gem install bundler

Note that OS X does not have a /home directory by default, so if you are using the GPX functions, you will need to change the directories specified in config/application.yml.

Cloning the repository

The repository is reasonably large (~150MB) and it's unlikely that you need the full history. If you are happy to wait for it all to download, run:

git clone

To clone only the most recent version (~23MB), instead use a 'shallow clone':

git clone --depth=1

If you want to add in the full history later on, perhaps to run git blame or git log, run git fetch --depth=1000000

Ruby gems

We use Bundler to manage the rubygems required for the project.

cd openstreetmap-website
bundle install

Application setup

We need to create the config/application.yml file from the example template. This contains various configuration options.

cp config/example.application.yml config/application.yml

You can customize your installation of The Rails Port by changing the values in config/application.yml

Database setup

The Rails Port uses three databases - one for development, one for testing, and one for production. The database-specific configuration options are stored in config/database.yml, which we need to create from the example template.

cp config/example.database.yml config/database.yml

PostgreSQL is configured to, by default, accept local connections without requiring a username or password. This is fine for development. If you wish to set up your database differently, then you should change the values found in the config/database.yml file, and amend the instructions below as appropriate.

PostgreSQL account setup

We need to create a PostgreSQL role (i.e. user account) for your current user, and it needs to be a superuser so that we can create more databases.

sudo -u postgres -i
createuser -s <username>

Create the databases

To create the three databases - for development, testing and production - run:

bundle exec rake db:create

PostgreSQL Btree-gist Extension

We need to load the btree-gist extension, which is needed for showing changesets on the history tab.

psql -d openstreetmap -c "CREATE EXTENSION btree_gist"

PostgreSQL Functions

We need to install special functions into the PostgreSQL databases, and these are provided by a library that needs compiling first.

cd db/functions
cd ../..

Then we create the functions within each database. We're using pwd to substitute in the current working directory, since PostgreSQL needs the full path.

psql -d openstreetmap -c "CREATE FUNCTION maptile_for_point(int8, int8, int4) RETURNS int4 AS '`pwd`/db/functions/libpgosm', 'maptile_for_point' LANGUAGE C STRICT"
psql -d openstreetmap -c "CREATE FUNCTION tile_for_point(int4, int4) RETURNS int8 AS '`pwd`/db/functions/libpgosm', 'tile_for_point' LANGUAGE C STRICT"
psql -d openstreetmap -c "CREATE FUNCTION xid_to_int4(xid) RETURNS int4 AS '`pwd`/db/functions/libpgosm', 'xid_to_int4' LANGUAGE C STRICT"

Database structure

To create all the tables, indexes and constraints, run:

bundle exec rake db:migrate

Running the tests

To ensure that everything is set up properly, you should now run:

bundle exec rake test:db

This test will take a few minutes, reporting tests run, assertions, and any errors. If you receive no errors, then your installation is successful.

The unit tests may output parser errors related to "Attribute lat redefined." These can be ignored.

Starting the server

Rails comes with a built-in webserver, so that you can test on your own machine without needing a server. Run

bundle exec rails server

You can now view the site in your favourite web-browser at http://localhost:3000/

Note that the OSM map tiles you see aren't created from your local database - they are just the standard map tiles.


After installing this software, you may need to carry out some configuration steps, depending on your tasks.