Installing Spatialite

SpatiaLite adds spatial support to SQLite, turning it into a full-featured spatial database.

Check first if you can install Spatialite from system packages or binaries. For example, on Debian-based distributions, try to install the spatialite-bin package. For Mac OS X, follow the specific instructions below. For Windows, you may find binaries on Gaia-SINS home page. In any case, you should always be able to install from source.

When you are done with the installation process, skip to Creating a spatial database for SpatiaLite.

Installing from source

GEOS and PROJ.4 should be installed prior to building SpatiaLite.


Check first if SQLite is compiled with the R*Tree module. Run the sqlite3 command line interface and enter the following query:

sqlite> CREATE VIRTUAL TABLE testrtree USING rtree(id,minX,maxX,minY,maxY);

If you obtain an error, you will have to recompile SQLite from source. Otherwise, just skip this section.

To install from sources, download the latest amalgamation source archive from the SQLite download page, and extract:

$ wget
$ tar xzf sqlite-amalgamation-
$ cd sqlite-

Next, run the configure script – however the CFLAGS environment variable needs to be customized so that SQLite knows to build the R*Tree module:

$ make
$ sudo make install
$ cd ..

SpatiaLite library (libspatialite) and tools (spatialite)

Get the latest SpatiaLite library source and tools bundle from the download page:

$ wget
$ wget
$ tar xzf libspatialite-amalgamation-2.4.0-5.tar.gz
$ tar xzf spatialite-tools-2.4.0-5.tar.gz

Prior to attempting to build, please read the important notes below to see if customization of the configure command is necessary. If not, then run the configure script, make, and install for the SpatiaLite library:

$ cd libspatialite-amalgamation-2.4.0-5
$ ./configure # May need to be modified, see notes below.
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ cd ..

Finally, do the same for the SpatiaLite tools:

$ cd spatialite-tools-2.4.0-5
$ ./configure # May need to be modified, see notes below.
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ cd ..


If you’ve installed GEOS and PROJ.4 from binary packages, you will have to specify their paths when running the configure scripts for both the library and the tools (the configure scripts look, by default, in /usr/local). For example, on Debian/Ubuntu distributions that have GEOS and PROJ.4 packages, the command would be:

$ ./configure --with-proj-include=/usr/include --with-proj-lib=/usr/lib --with-geos-include=/usr/include --with-geos-lib=/usr/lib


For Mac OS X users building from source, the SpatiaLite library and tools need to have their target configured:

$ ./configure --target=macosx

Mac OS X-specific instructions

To install the SpatiaLite library and tools, Mac OS X users can choose between KyngChaos packages and Homebrew.


First, follow the instructions in the KyngChaos packages section.

When Creating a spatial database for SpatiaLite, the spatialite program is required. However, instead of attempting to compile the SpatiaLite tools from source, download the SpatiaLite Binaries for OS X, and install spatialite in a location available in your PATH. For example:

$ curl -O
$ tar xzf spatialite-tools-osx-x86-2.3.1.tar.gz
$ cd spatialite-tools-osx-x86-2.3.1/bin
$ sudo cp spatialite /Library/Frameworks/SQLite3.framework/Programs

Finally, for GeoDjango to be able to find the KyngChaos SpatiaLite library, add the following to your



Homebrew handles all the SpatiaLite related packages on your behalf, including SQLite3, SpatiaLite, PROJ, and GEOS. Install them like this:

$ brew update
$ brew install spatialite-tools
$ brew install gdal

Finally, for GeoDjango to be able to find the SpatiaLite library, add the following to your


Creating a spatial database for SpatiaLite

When running migrate with a SQLite or SpatiaLite database, the database file will be automatically created if it doesn’t exist. Django will also ensure that the spatial metadata are initialized in the database.

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