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Pangolin is a lightweight portable rapid development library for managing OpenGL display / interaction and abstracting video input.
C++ C CMake Objective-C++ Other
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What is Pangolin

Pangolin is a lightweight portable rapid development library for managing OpenGL display / interaction and abstracting video input. At its heart is a simple OpenGl viewport manager which can help to modularise 3D visualisation without adding to its complexity, and offers an advanced but intuitive 3D navigation handler. Pangolin also provides a mechanism for manipulating program variables through config files and ui integration, and has a flexible real-time plotter for visualising graphical data.

The ethos of Pangolin is to reduce the boilerplate code that normally gets written to visualise and interact with (typically image and 3D based) systems, without compromising performance. It also enables write-once code for a number of platforms, currently including Windows, Linux, OSX, Android and IOS.


Find the latest version on Github:

git clone


Optional dependencies are enabled when found, otherwise they are silently disabled. Check the CMake configure output for details.

Required Dependencies

  • C++11

  • OpenGL (Desktop / ES / ES2)

    • (lin) sudo apt install libgl1-mesa-dev
  • Glew

    • (win) built automatically (assuming git is on your path)
    • (deb) sudo apt install libglew-dev
    • (mac) sudo port install glew
  • CMake (for build environment)

Recommended Dependencies

  • Python2 / Python3, for drop-down interactive console

    • (win)
    • (deb) sudo apt install libpython2.7-dev
    • (mac) preinstalled with osx
    • (for pybind11) git submodule init && git submodule update
    • (useful modules) sudo python -mpip install numpy pyopengl Pillow pybind11
  • Wayland

    • pkg-config: sudo apt install pkg-config
    • Wayland and EGL:sudo apt install libegl1-mesa-dev libwayland-dev libxkbcommon-dev wayland-protocols

Optional Dependencies for video input

  • FFMPEG (For video decoding and image rescaling)

    • (deb) sudo apt install ffmpeg libavcodec-dev libavutil-dev libavformat-dev libswscale-dev libavdevice-dev
  • DC1394 (For firewire input)

    • (deb) sudo apt install libdc1394-22-dev libraw1394-dev
  • libuvc (For cross-platform webcam video input via libusb)

    • git://
  • libjpeg, libpng, libtiff, libopenexr (For reading still-image sequences)

    • (deb) sudo apt install libjpeg-dev libpng12-dev libtiff5-dev libopenexr-dev
  • OpenNI / OpenNI2 (For Kinect / Xtrion / Primesense capture)

  • DepthSense SDK

Very Optional Dependencies

  • Eigen / TooN (These matrix types supported in the Pangolin API.)

  • CUDA Toolkit >= 3.2 (Some CUDA header-only interop utilities included)

  • Doxygen for generating html / pdf documentation.


Pangolin uses the CMake portable pre-build tool. To checkout and build pangolin in the directory 'build', execute the following at a shell (or the equivelent using a GUI):

git clone
cd Pangolin
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
cmake --build .

If you would like to build the documentation and you have Doxygen installed, you can execute:

cmake --build . --target doc

On Windows, Pangolin will attempt to download and build glew, libjpeg, libpng and zlib automatically. It does so assuming that git is available on the path - this assumption may be wrong for windows users who have downloaded Pangolin via a zip file on github. You will instead need to download and compile the dependencies manually, and set the BUILD_EXTERN_(lib) options to false for these libraries. The alternate and recommended approach is to install gitbash and work from within their provided console.


Please visit Github Issues to view and report problems with Pangolin. Issues and pull requests should be raised against the master branch which contains the current development version.

Please note; most Pangolin dependencies are optional - to disable a dependency which may be causing trouble on your machine, set the BUILD_PANGOLIN_(option) variable to false with a cmake configuration tool (e.g. ccmake or cmake-gui).

Contributions and Continuous Integration

For CI, Pangolin uses for Ubuntu, OSX and for Windows.

To contribute to Pangolin, I would appreciate pull requests against the master branch. This will trigger CI builds for your changes automatically, and help me to merge with confidence.


Binaries are available for Windows x64, as output by the Windows CI server: Appveyor Artifacts.



Pangolin python bindings are enabled via pybind11. These bindings can be used both standalone and from within Pangolin's drop-down console (press the back-tick key, `).

To enable the bindings, you must checkout the pybind submodule. To use pangolin in python, it's recommend to install a few other python packages too:

sudo python -mpip install numpy pyopengl Pillow pybind11
git submodule init && git submodule update

The python module pypangolin must be on your python path, either through installation, or by setting it explicitly:

import sys

Scheme syntax for windowing and video

Pangolin uses 'URI' syntax for modularising video drivers and windowing backends. The syntax follows along the lines of module_name:[option1=value1,option2=value2,...]//module_resource_to_open. Some examples for using this URI syntax with the VideoViewer tool is as follows:

VideoViewer test://
VideoViewer uvc:[size=640x480]///dev/video0
VideoViewer flip://debayer:[tile=rggb,method=downsample]//file://~/somefile.pango

Notice that for video, some modules support chaining to construct a simple filter graph. See include/pangolin/video/video.h for more examples.

For windowing, you can also customize default arguments for Pangolin applications by setting the PANGOLIN_WINDOW_URI environment variable. For instance, on high-DPI screens (in this example on OSX), you could set:

setenv PANGOLIN_WINDOW_URI "cocoa:[HIGHRES=true]//"

Some window parameters that may be interesting to override are DISPLAYNAME, DOUBLEBUFFER, SAMPLE_BUFFERS, SAMPLES, HIGHRES. Window modules currently include x11, winapi, cocoa.


I'd like to thank the growing number of kind contributors to Pangolin for helping to make it more stable and feature rich. Many features of Pangolin have been influenced by other projects such as GFlags, GLConsole, and libcvd in particular. I'd also like to thank the FOSS projects on which Pangolin depends.

For a summary of those who have made code contributions, execute:

git shortlog -sne
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