Compiling GRASS on MS-Windows

Dependencies required for building with MinGW

Compiling your own copy of GRASS is greatly simplified by using the MSYS2 and OSGeo4W directory structure to install most dependencies and downloading the rest from a few other locations. Follow the steps below to set up the build environment for GRASS GIS.

Install the OSGeo4W directory structure

OSGeo4W has several of the required dependencies for compiling GRASS GIS:

  1. Download the OSGeo4W installer - 32bit or 64bit
  1. Run the installer.
  1. Select Advanced Install, and Next.
  1. Set the install directory to C:\OSGeo4W (32bit) or C:\OSGeo4W64 (64bit) (other directories are fine if there are no spaces in the path but make sure to adjust the instructions below). The MSYS maintainers have made it clear that they will not support spaces in path names nor accept patches fixing those issues. With some patches to msys.bat however it is possible to install a built GRASS into C:\Program Files\.
  1. Select:
    • cairo
    • gdal
    • geos
    • fftw
    • fftw-devel (32bit only)
    • freetype-devel
    • freetype-devel-mingw (32bit only)
    • iconv
    • libjpeg
    • liblas-devel
    • libpng
    • libpq
    • libtiff
    • libxdr
    • pdcurses
    • proj
    • regex-devel
    • sqlite3
    • zlib
  1. Optionally select also GDAL plugins for common GIS formats (be careful not to introduce GPL incompatibilities)
    • gdal-ecw
    • gdal-mrsid
  1. Click Next, the selected packages and their required subpackages will be downloaded and installed automatically.

Install the MSYS2 directory structure

MSYS2 has several of the required dependencies for compiling GRASS GIS (like gcc and others):

  1. Download and install MSYS2 - 32bit or 64bit.
  1. Start MSYS2 terminal and install requirements (both 32bit and 64bit):
pacman -S tar libintl make bison diffutils subversion dos2unix zip
  1. Install MinGW-w64 toolchain:
  • 32bit:
    pacman -S mingw-w64-i686-toolchain mingw-w64-i686-cairo mingw-w64-i686-python2-numpy mingw-w64-i686-sqlite3
  • 64-bit:
    pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain mingw-w64-x86_64-cairo mingw-w64-x86_64-python2-numpy mingw-w64-x86_64-sqlite3
  1. Add to C:\msys{32|64}\home\user\.bashrc
export LC_ALL=C

Optional dependecies

Part of packaging process is also producing VC libraries using dumpbin command which is part of Visual Studio framework. It's recommended to install Common Tools for Visual C++.

Compiling and Installing GRASS GIS

Start MSYS2 terminal - mingw32_shell.bat (32bit) or mingw64_shell.bat (64bit).

  1. Download GRASS source code (see wiki:DownloadSource for details). Example for development version (trunk):
cd /usr/src
svn checkout grass_trunk
  1. Switch to GRASS GIS source code directory (in our case grass_trunk) and run compilation script:
cd grass_trunk

# for release builds on 32bit

# for daily builds on 32bit
PACKAGE_POSTFIX=-daily ./mswindows/osgeo4w/

# for release builds on 64bit
OSGEO4W_POSTFIX=64 ./mswindows/osgeo4w/

# for daily builds on 64bit
PACKAGE_POSTFIX=-daily OSGEO4W_POSTFIX=64 ./mswindows/osgeo4w/
  1. Check error.log for any error messages and mswindows/osgeo4w/package.log if you're having problems.

GRASS GIS should now be installed in c:\osgeo4w\apps\grass\grass-7.1.svn.


To start GRASS use the icon on the desktop or if you want to be able to use the command line from within GRASS.

Type in the OSGeo4W cmd console (assuming that we compiled GRASS 7.1):


Creating a WinGRASS Installer

The instructions for creating a WinGRASS native installer (self-contained package installer) using the scripts contained in the mswindows directory. In order to avoid mistakes or misunderstandings, we highly recommend to follow each step and command exactly as they are written in this document. See also scripts used for daily builds.

Install MSYS2/OSGeo4W Tree and Compile GRASS

First of all download the MSYS2, OSGeo4W installers, install the required dependencies, and build GRASS GIS from source (see notes above). Do not move on to step two until you have successfully tested your new version of GRASS.

Create a GRASS self-contained Package

  1. Copy all the content of the mswindows directory to a temporary directory, for example c:\temp.
  1. Launch the file c:\temp\GRASS-Packager.bat.
  1. When finished, you should have a GRASS self-contained release package in c:\temp\GRASS-<Version>-Package, e.g. c:\temp\GRASS-70-Package.

Install NSIS

  1. Download the NSIS installer
  1. Install to c:\DevTools

Install NSIS: Untgz Plugin

  1. Download the NSIS Untgz Plugin
  1. Copy untgz.dll to c:\DevTools\Plugins

Install NSIS: AccessControl Plugin

  1. Download the NSIS AccessControl Plugin
  1. Unzip to c:\DevTools\

Create the WinGRASS Installer

  1. Launch c:\temp\GRASS-Installer.nsi.
  1. When finished, you should have the WinGRASS installer in c:\temp.



Required by GRASS Addons

  1. Download

TODO: Finish this part.

WinGRASS 64bit Notes

External notes for building windows 64bit-binaries:

Tool chains for building windows 64bit-binaries:


Startup errors after installation

See here:

See also

  • Besides Cygwin and MinGW there is another along similar lines called "som" or "gow" or something?


  • Some anti-virus software seem to think that the r.out.png.exe module (etc.) is a sneaky attempt to fool you into thinking it's an image instead of what it really is: a program which exports a PNG file. g.version is also reported to set them off. You'll have to bypass these over-zealous warnings as appropriate.

Open Tickets

winGRASS 6:

WinGRASS fails to create .gislock opening a mapset
hardcoded /dev/null
stanalone installer: include the release notes
init.bat should give usage info with --help
WinGRASS GIS.m: broken newlines in output window
consider using console instead of cmd.exe
i.spectral in GRASS6.4
#820 doesn't work in WinGRASS installer distribution
wx attribute table manger fails on wingrass with >188 dbf tables
v.out.ogr to MySQL does not work propely
db.out.ogr together with g.parser doesn't play nicely with non-lati characters containing DSN
winGRASS: r.statistics complains if path to grassdb has spaces
After abort command from wxGUI vector output of devation (devi) couldn´t be removed, or overwrited
Windows native installer: reinstall
r.tileset: projection string munching on wingrass
.inputrc improving msys WinGRASS command line
Python Menu: Japanese (double byte character) in menu may cause parser error.
ERROR: G_getenv(): Variable LOCATION_NAME not set
WinGrass using
clean_temp can not be called before LOCATION_NAME is set
WinGrass: v.krige not working due to missing rpy2 pkg for MS Windows
wxGUI wingrass scripts need whitespace in path
wingrass - different wingrass-modes are differently translated
wingrass - g.message in a python-script - no output
#1586 complains about xerces-c support in GDAL
Texts in command dialogs are garbled
WinGRASS does not launch
wingrass: background dosbox from regular wxgui startup
wingrass: Command Line can't find grass.python libs
wingrass: please add tac and seq to extrabin
wingrass: GRASS6\wx file has \r\r\n newline
Cartographic Composer: Raster map is not shown in preview
wingrass wx carto composer: Image causes traceback
wingrass installer: install_msruntime dir not deleted despite rule for it
m.proj on wingrass: protect g.proj's path name to the grid file
Startup Error: G_getenv(): Variable LOCATION_NAME not set
wxGUI file type option. File path corrupt if contained backslash
wingrass: failure when loading addons
compiling grass in windows 8
GRASS 7.0 Beta 3 for windows cannot read .laz files
Command console is crashing if any system user name contains accented character
Future winGRASS needs python-ply package
Commandline switch "/S" is not working anymore
wxGUI.PsMap error loading two types north arrow and grass gis logo in the cartographic composer layout
support bash on windows 10
MySQL driver failed to install
Problems with Numpy and matplotlib after updating through OSGeo4W
Cannot export GRASS raster map using r.out.png (crashes on windows)

winGRASS 7: No results

Last modified 5 months ago Last modified on Jun 3, 2016 7:23:29 AM