gmt  5.4.5
About: GMT - The Generic Mapping Tools for manipulating geographic and Cartesian data sets. GMT5 distribution.
  Fossies Dox: gmt-5.4.5-src.tar.xz  ("unofficial" and yet experimental doxygen-generated source code documentation)  

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gmt Documentation

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== Information for installing GMT 5 ==

Note: The build system has recently been switched to CMake which is a
cross-platform system for managing the build process. If you are familiar
with the old GNU Build Tools (automake, autoconf, and configure) you can
probably skip over to the CMake quick start guide in README.CMake.


You do not need to read these instructions unless you plan to build and
install the programs manually.

GMT has been installed successfully under UNIX/Linux/OS X on workstations.  It
also installs under Windows and in UNIX emulators such as Cygwin or on virtual
machines.  We anticipate few problems if you are installing the package on
other platforms.

Note there are three GMT tar archives available (#3 is optional):

1. gmt-5.x.x.tar.bz2:          The GMT 5 distribution
2. gshhg-gmt-2.x.x.tar.gz:     All five resolutions of GSHHG coastline data
3. dcw-gmt-1.x.x.tar.bz2:      Digital Chart of the World polygon data

The archives are available in bzip2 (*.bz2) and gzip (*.gz) formats.
If you do not have bzip2 installed you can obtain source or executables

For Windows users there are separate Windows installers available; this
discussion only considers UNIX/Linux/OS X installations. Windows users who
which to build GMT from the sources refer to README.WIN32.


Install CMake (>=2.8.5) from

Install netCDF library

For all major Linux distributions there are prepackaged development binaries
available. netCDF is also available on MacOSX trough the macports and fink
package managers.

Otherwise, get netCDF from
You need at least version 4.0 with netCDF-4/HDF5 data model support (do not
disable HDF5/ZLIB in netCDF with --disable-netcdf-4).

Install CURL library

To handle URLs we depend on libcurl so install via your favorite package
manager if it is not intrinsic to your Unix installation.  Otherwise, get
it from

GDAL (optional)

To use the GDAL interface (ability to provide grids or images to be imported
via gdal) you must have the GDAL library and include files installed.  Like
netCDF, GDAL is available through your favorite package manager on many *NIX

PCRE (optional)

To use the PCRE interface (ability to specify regular expressions in some
search options, e.g., gmtconvert) you must have the PCRE library and include
files installed.  PCRE is available through your favorite package manager
on many *NIX systems.

Because GDAL already links with PCRE1 it is most practical to use that version.
But if you insist, GMT can also be compiled with PCRE2.

LAPACK (optional)

To greatly speed up some linear algebra calculations (greenspline in 
particular) you must have the LAPACK library and include files installed.
LAPACK is available through your favorite package manager on many *NIX
systems or in the case of OS X is built in.

Install support data

You can obtain GMT from Alternatively you may
get GMT from any of the following FTP sites. Try the site that is closest to
you to minimize transmission times:

Site                                    FTP address
SOEST, U. of Hawaii           
Lab for Satellite Altimetry, NOAA
IRIS, Washington, US          
IAG-USP, U. of Sao Paulo, BRAZIL
ISV, Hokkaido U, Sapporo, JAPAN
TENET, Tertiary Education & Research Networks, SOUTH AFRICA

The development sources are available from the subversion repository at

Extract the files and put them in a separate directory (need not be
where you eventually want to install GMT).


GMT can be build on any platform supported by CMake.  CMake is a
cross-platform, open-source system for managing the build process.
Refer to README.CMake for further details.  In the source tree copy
cmake/ConfigUserTemplate.cmake to cmake/ConfigUser.cmake and edit
the file according to your demands.

By default, GMT will use Dave Watson's Delaunay triangulation routine.
However, a much faster alternative is available from Jonathan Shewchuk, but
his routine is not distributed under the GNU Public License.  If you work for
a for-profit organization you should read Shewchuk's copyright statement (in
src/triangle.c) first.  If you agree with the license terms you can enable
Shewchuk's triangulation routine in cmake/ConfigUser.cmake.

At run-time, GMT will initialize all default variables. You can change
this by adding a gmt.conf file in your current or home directory
and edit those settings since GMT will check for that file before loading
system defaults (actually, it will first look in the current directory, then
the home directory, and then finally in share).  See the gmt.conf man page
for a description of all defaults.

To prevent two GMT processes writing to the same gmt.conf file simultaneously
(thereby corrupting it), GMT can implement the POSIX advisory file locking
scheme and sets and releases locks on these files.  This might not be reliable
when the files reside in directories on network filesystems, such as NFS.
Whether flock works on network filesystems is implementation dependent.  If
you want to activate file locking you may enable it in cmake/ConfigUser.cmake.

By default, both GMT and all its supplements are built.  You can turn
off all supplements via the BUILD_SUPPLEMENTS setting in ConfigUsers.cmake

The top-level installation directory is configured with the variable

Now that you made your configuration choices it is time for invoking CMake.
Create a subdirectory where the build files will be generated, e.g., in the
source tree 'mkdir build'.

In the build subdirectory, type

  cmake [options] ..

Append any of the options explained above as you see fit.  If CMake cannot
figure out all the dependent libraries or required compiler and linker flags
it will give you a message and you will be asked to edit

Build GMT

In the build directory, type


which will compile all the programs.  After a successful compilation you may
install the executables in the designated bin directory with the command

  make install

After a successful install you can have the object files and the local
executables removed by saying

  make clean

or just remove the entire build directory.


The documentation is available online at
or as platform independent package that you can install along with GMT.

The GMT documentation includes HTML files for online browsing, user guide,
cookbook, and manual pages. The Documentation also contains the
GMT_Tutorial.pdf file which is a short course in how to use GMT.  It can be
still missing!
followed individually or in a lab setting by a group of users.

The development sources from subversion do not contain the precompiled
documentation. The manuals, HTML pages, and PDFs have to be created from
source with Sphinx (see README.CMake).

Set path

Make sure users set their PATH to include the directory containing
the GMT executables (BINDIR) if this is not a standard directory
like /usr/local/bin.  You should now be able to run GMT programs.

GMT supplemental Code

GMT users elsewhere have developed programs that utilize the GMT libraries and
produce PostScript code compatible with the rest of GMT or simply perform data
manipulation.  In addition, misc.  code developed by us depend on GMT
libraries.  Currently, the supplemental archive include the directories:

  gshhg     - Data extractor for GSHHG shoreline polygons and rivers, borders.
  img       - Data extractor for Smith/Sandwell altimetry grids.
  meca      - Plotting of focal mechanisms, velocity arrows,
              and error ellipses on maps.
  mgd77     - Programs for handling of native MGD77 files.
  misc      - dimfilter
  potential - geopotential manipulations
  segyprogs - Plotting SEGY seismic data sets.
  spotter   - Plate tectonic & kinematics applications.
  x2sys     - Track intersection (crossover) tools.


Before running programs, there are a few things you should do/know:

  - Read carefully the documentation for the gmt system.  This can be
    found as both PDF and HTML files in the doc/pdf|html directories.
    The successful operation of gmt-programs depends directly on your
    understanding of how gmt "works", its option lists, I/O, and composite
    plot mechanisms.  Then, before running individual gmt programs, read
    the associated man page.

A reminder

If you think it is appropriate, you may consider paying us back by including
our latest EOS article (Wessel, P., W. H. F. Smith, R. Scharroo, J. F. Luis,
and F. Wobbe (2013), Generic Mapping Tools: Improved version released, Eos
Trans. AGU, 94(45), 409-410, doi:10.1002/2013EO450001) in the reference list
of your future publications that will benefit from the availability of GMT.

Software support

You haven't bought anything so you cannot expect full service.  However, if
you find a bug in any of the programs, please report it to us
( rather than trying to fix it yourself so that
we, and through us, other users may benefit from your find.  Make sure you
provide us with enough information so that we can recreate the problem.

In addition to the bug tracking feature (New Issues) on the website, you
can also post general questions on the GMT user forum.  Note that registration
is required to post on the site.

Ordering the GMT package on CD/DVD-Rs

Should you or someone you know without net-access need to obtain GMT:
Geoware makes and distributes CD/DVD-Rs with the GMT package and many
useful data sets.  For more details and a full description of the data
sets (up to 60 Gb of data!) visit

Good luck!

The GMT Team.

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