comments 14

How to install SpatiaLite and SpatiaLite GUI on Ubuntu 12.04

I‘ve recently needed a spatial database for storing a large amount of point data. I first thought about PostGIS but was turned off by its Client-Server-Architecture which seemed a too big overhead for my small task. On the other hand, I already had a SQLite database running and was thus familiar with its lightweight approach. Thus I decided to try out SpatiaLite, which, like PostGIS, supports the OpenGIS specifications.

Installing all the latest versions of the SpatiaLite family on Ubuntu 12.04 turned out to be a bit tedious though. As of today, these are SpatiaLite 4.0.0 and SpatiaLite GUI 1.6. I had to compile everything from source and was often thrown back just to learn that I need to install all the *-dev versions of the needed C libraries as well.

There actually are packaged versions of SpatiaLite and SpatiaLite GUI in the package system of Ubuntu, but they are often a version or more behind the actual version.

Therefore this post will give an easy, copy-paste style how-to for compiling SpatiaLite and its GUI with all the dependencies.

SpatiaLite 4

First you need to have all the dev versions of the libraries SpatiaLite depends on:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install libsqlite3-dev 
sudo apt-get install libproj-dev 
sudo apt-get install libgeos-dev

Although you might not need it, you should install FreeXL since it is definitely needed by the GUI, and I ran into problems when I chose not to install it in the first place.

tar -xvzf freexl-1.0.0e.tar.gz 
cd freexl-1.0.0e/ 
make -j8 
sudo make install-strip

Then, to install the main package (maybe you have to add `–disable-freexl` after `./configure` if this doesn’t work, it used to work for me, see comments below):

tar -xvzf libspatialite-4.0.0.tar.gz 
cd libspatialite-4.0.0/ 
./configure --with-geosconfig=/usr/bin/geos-config 
make -j8 
sudo make install-strip

You should also install the command line utility (similar to the SQLite utility) and other helpful tools. In my case, I didn’t need OSM support, so I disabled it.

tar -xvzf spatialite-tools-4.0.0.tar.gz 
cd spatialite-tools-4.0.0/ 
./configure --disable-readosm 
make -j8 
sudo make install-strip

In order for everything to work, you need to register the path to the binaries like this: Open up with a text editor

sudo vim /etc/

and add


at the end of that file. After that, refresh:

sudo ldconfig

If you don’t want the GUI, you’re done and can invoke the CLI via

spatialite test.db

If you want the GUI, follow these steps…

SpatiaLite GUI 1.6

Again, you need to install dev versions of required libraries:

sudo apt-get install libjpeg-dev 
sudo apt-get install libgeotiff-dev 
sudo apt-get install libpng-dev 
sudo apt-get install libcairo2-dev 
sudo apt-get install libwxgtk2.8-dev

You really need FreeXL for the GUI, so if you haven’t installed it yet, you might just as well start from scratch. Apart from that, you’ll need libgaiagraphics

tar -xvzf libgaiagraphics-0.4b.tar.gz 
cd libgaiagraphics-0.4b/ 
make -j8 
sudo make install-strip

Finally, you can install the GUI with

tar -xvzf spatialite_gui-1.6.0.tar.gz 
cd spatialite_gui-1.6.0/ 
make -j8 
sudo make install-strip

There you go!


  1. Pingback: Installing on Linux – SpatiaLite Talk

Leave a Reply