The Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) are a suite of tools for making maps. The graphics generated with default settings in GMT exceed in many ways those which would come out of most users’ ArcGIS work. Admittedly, GMT does come with a steep learning curve, not excluding the installation process. For earlier versions of GMT (4.x.x) installation is more simple and direct, as you can just install from the Ubuntu Software Center (or other package managers), however, these managers typically don’t have the most recent versions — in this case GMT version 5.1.x.
Without further adieu, in the following steps, we will collect the necessary components of the GMT install, compile, and install. Most of the guide comes from the GMT website, but is supplemented with some of what I think are helpful details for new users to GMT.
READ: This guide uses the terminal and a file explorer, but the entire install can be done from the terminal; in some steps incomplete commands to do operations via terminal are listed in square brackets […] where items in carrot brackets must be replaced with system/your-install specific items <…>. All terminal commands listed without brackets are required for successful install.
1) Begin by installing several dependency packages. Running the following command will be sufficient, as any already installed packages will be skipped.
sudo apt-get install subversion ghostscript build-essential cmake libnetcdf-dev libgdal1-dev libfftw3-dev libpcre3-dev
2) Download the latest stable version of GMT using
svn checkout svn://gmtserver.soest.hawaii.edu/gmt5/trunk gmt5-dev
3) Visit the GMT download page and download the latest versions of the packages titled “gshhg-gmt-x.x.x.tar.gz” and “dcw-gmt-x.x.x.tar.gz”.
4) Copy each compressed folder into the directory downloaded via subversion — this should be located at ~/gmt5-dev by default. Uncompress the folders here.
[cp ./ && cp ./]
[tar -zxvf gshhg-gmt-x.x.x.tar.gz]
5) In the ~/gmt5-dev folder, enter the cmake folder, make a copy of the ConfigUserTemplate.cmake file and rename the copy to ConfigUser.cmake. Open this file in an editor.
[cp ConfigUserTemplate.cmake ./ConfigUser.cmake]
6) You need to edit the following lines of this file:
a. enable (uncomment) line 115 (set (GSHHG_ROOT…) and replace the path name with the absolute path to the gshhg-gmt-x.x.x folder.
b. enable copy in line 118
c. enable line 121 and replace the path nae with the absolute path to the dcw-gmt-x.x.x folder.
d. enable copy in line 124
Save the file and return to the terminal. NOTE: the line numbers may change with updates by the GMT devs to the .cmake file.
7) cd into the ~/gmt5-dev folder and execute the following commands, waiting to finish each time.
sudo make install
That should complete your install of GMT 5.1.x! To test the install, try the following command into a new terminal window
gmt pscoast -R-130/-30/-50/50 -Jm0.025i -B30g30:.Mercator: -Di -W > mercator.ps
Check out the first article of my series on making maps with GMT here!
UPDATE: These instructions were tested on 08/25/16 on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and remain successful when followed correctly (thanks Luis M.).