Building Under Windows

Author:Howard Butler
Contact:howard at


OSGeo4W contains a pre-built up-to-date 64 bit Windows binary. It is fully-featured, and if you do not need anything custom, it is likely the fastest way to get going.


Pre-built binary packages for Windows are available via OSGeo4W (64-bit version), and all of the prerequisites required for compilation of a fully featured build are also available via that packaging system. This document assumes you will be using OSGeo4W as your base, and anything more advanced is beyond the scope of the document.


The AppVeyor build system uses the PDAL project’s configuration on the OSGeo4W system. It contains a rich resource of known working examples. See and for inspiration.

Required Compiler

PDAL is known to compile on Visual Studio 2015, and 2013 might work with some source tree adjustments. PDAL makes heavy use of C++11, and a compiler with good support for those features is required.

Prerequiste Libraries

PDAL uses the AppVeyor continuous integration platform for building and testing itself on Windows. The configuration that PDAL uses is valuable raw materials for configuring your own environment because the PDAL team must keep it up to date with both the OSGeo4W environment and the Microsoft compiler situation.

You can see the current AppVeyor configuration at The most interesting bits are the install section, the config.cmd, and the build.cmd.

The AppVeyor configuration installs OSGeo4W and all of PDAL’s prerequisites via the command line.

After downloading the OSGeo4W setup, you can invoke it via the command line to install PDAL’s prerequisite packages.

C:\temp\osgeo4w-setup.exe -q -k -r -A -s -a x86_64 ^
      -P eigen,gdal,geos,hexer,iconv,laszip,libgeotiff,libpq,libtiff,^
         python3-numpy,oci,oci-devel,laz-perf,jsoncpp -R c:/OSGeo4W64


The package list here might change over time. The canonnical location to learn the OSGeo4W prerequisite list for PDAL is the appveyor.yml file in PDAL’s source tree.

See also

If you don’t wish to run via the command line, you can choose the GUI for installation. Visit OSGeo4W for a description, and then choose all of the listed support libraries (minus PDAL of course) to schedule them for installation.


There are a number of package scripts that assume c:/OSGeo4W64 as the installation path, and it is likely that you will run into some trouble attempting to install in other locations. It’s possible it will work with some elbow grease, but it might not work out of the box.

Fetching the Source

Get the source code for PDAL. Presumably you have GitHub for Windows or something like it. Run a “git shell” and clone the repository into the directory of your choice.

c:\dev> git clone

Switch to the -maintenance branch.

c:\dev> git checkout 1.7-maintenance


PDAL’s active development branch is master, and you are welcome to build it, but is not as stable as the major-versioned release branches are likely to be.


PDAL uses CMake for its build configuration. You will need to install CMake and have it available on your path to configure PDAL.

Invoke your cmake command to configure the PDAL.

cmake -G "NMake Makefiles" .

A fully-featured build will require more specification of libraries, enabled features, and their locations. There are two places in the source tree for inspiration on this topic.

  1. The AppVeyor build configuration
  2. Howard Butler’s example build configuration


Placing your command in a .bat file will make for easy reuse.


If you chose NMake Makefiles as your CMake generator, you can invoke the build by calling nmake:

nmake /f Makefile

If you chose “Visual Studio 14 Win64” as your CMake generator, open PDAL.sln and chose your configuration to build.


After you’ve built the tree, you can run pdal.exe by issuing it



You need to have your OSGeo4W shell active to enable access to PDAL’s dependencies. Issue c:\osgeo4w64\bin\o4w_env.bat in your shell to activiate it.