How To Install GDAL/OGR Packages on Ubuntu

GDAL is a translator library for raster and vector geospatial data formats.

OGR Simple Features Library is a C++ open source library (and commandline tools) providing read (and sometimes write) access to a variety of vector file formats including ESRI Shapefiles, S-57, SDTS, PostGIS, Oracle Spatial, and Mapinfo mid/mif and TAB formats.

OGR is a part of the GDAL library.

GDAL/OGR are used in numerous GIS software projects and, lucky for us, there are bindings for python. In fact, you may want to check out the Python GDAL/OGR Cookbook.

This article describes a process you can follow to install GDAL/OGR on Ubuntu.

Before You Begin: Python 3.6

If you are installing the GDAL/OGR packages into a virtual environment based on Python 3.6, you may need to install the python3.6-dev package.

sudo apt-get install python3.6-dev

For more information about creating virtual environments on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, see A Note About Python 3.6 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Install GDAL/OGR

Much of this section is taken from a really helpful blog post by Sara Safavi. Follow these steps to get GDAL/OGR installed.

To get the latest GDAL/OGR version, add the PPA to your sources, then install the gdal-bin package (this should automatically grab any necessary dependencies, including at least the relevant libgdal version).

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ppa && sudo apt-get update

Once you add the repository, go ahead and update your source packages.

sudo apt-get update

Now you should be able to install the GDAL/OGR package.

sudo apt-get install gdal-bin

To verify the installation, you can run ogrinfo --version.

ogrinfo

Install GDAL for Python

Before installing the GDAL Python libraries, you’ll need to install the GDAL development libraries.

sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev

You’ll also need to export a couple of environment variables for the compiler.

export CPLUS_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/gdal
export C_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/gdal

Now you can use pip to install the Python GDAL bindings.

pip install GDAL

Putting It All Together

If you want to run the whole process at once, we’ve collected all the commands above in the script below.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ppa && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gdal-bin
sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev
export CPLUS_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/gdal
export C_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/gdal
pip install GDAL

Try It Out

Now that GDAL/OGR is installed, and you can program against it in Python, why not try it out? The code block below is a sample from the Python OGR/GDAL Cookbook that gets all the layers in an Esri file geodatabase.

# standard imports
import sys

# import OGR
from osgeo import ogr

# use OGR specific exceptions
ogr.UseExceptions()

# get the driver
driver = ogr.GetDriverByName("OpenFileGDB")

# opening the FileGDB
try:
    gdb = driver.Open(gdb_path, 0)
except Exception, e:
    print e
    sys.exit()

# list to store layers'names
featsClassList = []

# parsing layers by index
for featsClass_idx in range(gdb.GetLayerCount()):
    featsClass = gdb.GetLayerByIndex(featsClass_idx)
    featsClassList.append(featsClass.GetName())

# sorting
featsClassList.sort()

# printing
for featsClass in featsClassList:
    print featsClass

# clean close
del gdb

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Sara Safavi and Paul Whipp for contributing some of the leg work on this.