Installing Vision Workbench on Ubuntu

It seems everyone runs into trouble when installing Vision Workbench. Here’s a quick outline on how to get my favorite software on my second favorite platform. We’ll need to start with downloading all the dependencies through Ubuntu’s package manager called Aptitude.

sudo apt-get install build-essential automake libtool
             libboost1.42-all-dev libproj-dev git
             git-completion liblapack-dev ccache

The above command gets you most of the way. There is however one more dependency that we require. We need GDAL, which is a wonderful library for interfacing with many different file types and their geographic information. However Ubuntu only provides an old 1.6 version where Vision Workbench requires the latest and greatest 1.7.

Getting the newer version of GDAL requires an additional repo provided by UbuntuGIS. This can be achieved easily by doing the following:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libgdal1-dev gdal-bin

If you happen to be one of my unfortunate interns (Muhawahaha) working from a laptop and stuck behind a government firewall. Here’s what Josh has to say about that:

However, if you are on the ARC-WLAN-GUEST network, port
11371 will most likely be blocked which will cause the above com-
mand (and programs like ping) to time out. If this is the case, the
First, add the line ”
unstable/ubuntu lucid main” to your repository. Then, go to
the website and search for the key
0x314DF160. Copy the text that appears into a local file. Then
apt-key add filename-here. Now you should be able to get the latest gdal. Run apt-get’s update and then install libgdal1-dev.
Alright! We are now ready to get Vision Workbench which as of May is available via a GitHub account. If you want the last stable version, download the source tarball from the official site. But instead I’ll show you how to download the current development code with Git. If you don’t have any plans of ever trying to modify Vision Workbench you can do the following.
git clone git://

Others with ambitions of contributing back to the software will need to create a GitHub account and then proceed to fork Vision Workbench. Before you create a GitHub account, if you are unfamiliar with Git then you should read the first 2 chapters of ProGit. Proceed to GitHub and follow all the instructions until you have your ssh-keys setup. Then you’ll want to follow their instructions for how to fork a project. In the future when you want to contribute back to the group it will be performed with a pull request.

From inside your checked out copy of Vision Workbench in the first directory you’ll want to create a config.options file. In this file you’ll want to following contents.

PKG_GDAL_CPPFLAGS=`gdal-config --cflags`
PKG_GDAL_LIBS=`gdal-config --libs`

Finally you are ready to compile and install Vision Workbench.

make install

Vision Workbench is now installed in the build directory where the source code is checked out. You’ll probably want to point the environmental variable PATH to the build/bin directory.

If you still have spare cycles, you should run the test suite to find out if Vision Workbench is installed correctly. This is achieved with:

make check

You are now finished. It is now time to party.