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Quickstart GIS Setup on Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS

I had to recently setup a clean Ubuntu 12.04 LTS workstation for GIS data processing. For the simplicity and speed, I decided to go with packaged versions of many of the required GIS software. Many of the packages are derived from the ubuntugis-unstable repository.

What follows below are a blow-by-blow of my installation notes grouped by software package. Either code snippets or links to relevant blog posts.

This is certainly only a high-level guide. If anyone has any other suggestions or alternatives, please feel free to list them.

NOTE: The order of these installs reflects the actual order in which I installed them.

Non-GIS Essentials #

Install SSH #

SSH or Secure Shell, is essential for remote server administration.

$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Increase History Size #

The default history size is pretty low. Increasing the size allows us to do search for that oft-used terminal command right when you need it most. What was the name of that server I ssh'd into last month? Piping history to grep can do the trick. $ history | grep -i "ssh"

$ vim ~/.bashrc

Python Virtual Environments #

Used this awesome gist by github user panuta.

Didn't follow, but a good reference:

Apache #

$ sudo apt-get install apache2

GIS Packages #

Connect to the UbuntuGIS-Unstable PPA #

In order to access many of these packages, we need to connect the system to the UbuntuGIS-Unstable PPA.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable
$ sudo apt-get update

GDAL/Fiona #

GDAL/OGR are the defacto Open Source GIS swiss army knife. Fiona provides easy-to-use Python bindings for use in your projects.

$ sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev gdal-bin
$ workon gis-base
$ sudo apt-get install python2.7-dev
$ pip install Fiona

Postgres/PostGIS #

The ubuntu unstable repository provides pre-packaged binaries combining both Postgres and Postgis.

As of August 2013, GDAL version 1.10 for some reason doesn't include libgdal1, replaced by libgdalh. See: This appearently is causing some issues with packages installations, including Postgres/PostGIS. The steps below appear to work.

$ sudo apt-get install libgdal1-dev
$ sudo apt-get install postgresql-9.1-postgis-2.0

If you need any of the postgis util scripts, e.g. used for restoring a postgres database (across differing versions of postgis), I believe the only way to get these is by making from source.

$ sudo apt-get install proj
$ wget
$ tar -zxvf postgis-2.0.3.tar.gz
$ cd postgis-2.0.3/
$ ./configure
$ make

Finally, if you need to change your Postgresql data dir to another disk, this guide provides good advice:

Imposm 2.5.0 #

If you're rendering OSM data, imposm is one of the fastest ways to get data from an OSM Planet Extract into PostGIS.

I followed the instructions within the Imposm documentation

Note: Installed imposm directly into my virtualenv "gis-base"

Quantum GIS #

$ sudo apt-get install qgis