Using mesher this way (i.e., built from source) will require setting the mesher binary path as described in Environment variables.

Build from source

Building mesher from source has two parts

  1. compile the backend C++ binary and
  2. setup a python environment for the python frontend.

Build Requirements

Linux and MacOS are the only supported environments. Python 3.7 or 3.8

Python 3.9 does not have vtk wheels

  • cmake >= 3.16
  • C++11 compiler (gcc 7.x+ recommended)

On MacOS, homebrew should be used to install cmake and conan. Macport based installs likely work, but have not been tested.


Building mesher requires:

  • cmake (>3.16)
  • boost (>1.70)
  • gdal (>2.4 or >3.0)
  • cgal

For macos:

brew install gdal brew install boost brew install cgal

For Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev
sudo apt-get install python-gdal
sudo apt-get install gdal-bin
sudo apt-get install libcgal-dev
sudo apt-get install libboost-filesystem-dev
sudo apt-get install libboost-program-options-dev

Throughout, this document assumes a working development environment

Clone repo

An out of source build is recommended. For example:

cd ~/
git clone
mkdir ~/build && cd ~/build

Run cmake

You can set the install prefix to be anywhere, such as shown in the example below

cmake ~/mesher -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/mesher

This should complete without any errors.


Using make

make install

Setup Python

The python vtk bindings (see below) are most easily installed using the wheels packages. However, vtk wheels only exist for Python 3.6, and 3.7. Therefore it’s highly recommended to use Python 3.7. Doing so can easily be done with pyenv to manage python versions:

pyenv install 3.7.6
pyenv shell 3.7.6 # activate this version of python for this shell

If pyenv is used, then the excellent pyenv-virtualenv wrapper can easily streamline virtualenv creation

pyenv virtualenv 3.7.6 mesher-3.7.6
pyenv activate mesher-3.7.6

Regardless of how the virtualenv is setup, install the following:


vtk wheels only exist for Python 3.5, 3.6, and 3.7. If building from source, ensure vtk development files (e.g., vtk-devel) are installed through your system’s package manager.

pip install vtk


It’s recommended that gdal python bindings are installed via pygdal. gdal doesn’t provide wheels, so pygdal will need to build from source. Therefore ensure gdal development files (e.g., gdal-devel) are installed through your system’s package manager.

On linux, depending on the distro used, you may need to also install the gdal binaries. On Ubuntu this is

sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev
sudo apt-get install gdal-bin

The system gdal binaries such as gdalwarp are only avilable in the gdal-bin pacakage.

other libraries

pip install numpy scipy cloudpickle


Notes for how to deploy to Pypi:

pip install scikit-build
pip install twine
pip install wheel
python sdist bdist_wheel
twine upload  dist/*

Note that version number needs to be incremented for each Pypi upload

Optional Conan

Optionall mesher’s dependencies can be build using conan for dependency management.

All of the mesher dependencies are built on Github-CI and uploaded to the bintray repository to serve prebuilt binaries. This means that if the mesher build is done with supported compilers and operating system (described later), the dependencies do not need to be built by the end user.


The python gdal bindings uses a system-wide gdal rather than the conan gdal the mesher C++ backend links against. This will hopefully be resolved in the future. However, as no data passes between the C++ and Python, having different gdal versions poses no problem.


Conan and conda don’t seem to consistently work. Use at your own risk.

Setup dependencies

Install the dependencies into your local conan cache (~/.conan/data)

cd ~/build #if you have not already
conan install ~/mesher -if=.

The -if=. will produce the FindXXX.cmake files required for the mesher build in the current directory.

If you need to build dependencies from source, use the –build missing option like:

conan install ~/mesher -if=. --build missing

Then enable the conan build in the CMake file

cmake ~/mesher -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/mesher -DUSE_CONAN=True

What to do if things aren’t working

On Macos, homebrew tends to update often. Thus, python packages that are installed against homebrew libraries may break in interesting ways. The most common issue is that the pygdal package hasn’t been update for the newest version of gdal in homebrew. This will manifest as an error like gdal 2.3.4 != gdal 3.2.1 . Unfortunately there is not much that can be until pygdal gets updated. It is best to open an issue either on the mesher or nextgis/pygdal githubs.

If there is an install error about gdal-config missing, please ensure that gdal is installed from your package manager and is available on the path. Running gdal-config --version should produce output