This package is in early stages of development.

We welcome any feedback and ideas! Let us know by submitting issues on Github or send us a message on our Gitter chatroom.

Which Python?

You’ll need Python 3.6 or greater to run GMT/Python.

We recommend using the Anaconda Python distribution to ensure you have all dependencies installed and the conda package manager available. Installing Anaconda does not require administrative rights to your computer and doesn’t interfere with any other Python installations in your system.

Which GMT?

You’ll need GMT 6, the latest development version available from the GitHub repository.

We need the very latest GMT since there are many changes being made to the C API in response to the development of GMT/Python, mainly the new modern execution mode.

GMT 6 has not been officially released yet. However, we provide compiled conda packages of the development version for Linux and Mac through conda-forge. You can also build GMT from source instead, which is untested and we would love to get feedback from anyone who tries.

We recommend following the instructions further on to install GMT 6.


GMT/Python requires the following libraries:

The following are optional (but recommended) dependencies:

  • IPython: For embedding the figures in Jupyter notebooks.

Installing GMT and other dependencies

Before installing GMT/Python, we must install GMT itself along with the other dependencies. The easiest way to do this is using the conda package manager. We recommend working in an isolated conda environment to avoid issues with competing versions of GMT and its dependencies.

First, we must configure conda to get packages from the conda-forge channel (the order is important):

conda config --prepend channels conda-forge/label/dev
conda config --prepend channels conda-forge

Now we can create a new conda environment with Python and all our dependencies installed (we’ll call it gmt-python but you can change it to whatever you want):

conda create --name gmt-python python=3.6 pip numpy pandas xarray packaging ipython gmt=6.0.0*

Activate the environment by running:

source activate gmt-python

From now on, all commands will take place inside the environment and won’t affect your default installation.


Currently, this only works on Linux and macOS.

We don’t have a GMT conda package for Windows (we’re working on it). If you know how to build GMT from source, you can do that instead of the conda install gmt. This is untested and we would love to get feedback from anyone who tries.

Installing GMT/Python

Now that you have GMT installed and your conda environment activated, use pip to install the latest source of GMT/Python from Github:

pip install

Alternatively, you can clone the git repository and install using pip:

git clone
cd gmt-python
pip install .

This will allow you to use the gmt library from Python.

Testing your install

GMT/Python ships with a full test suite. You can run our tests after you install it but you will need a few extra dependencies as well (be sure to have your conda env activated):

conda install pytest pytest-mpl sphinx jinja2 docutils ipython

Test your installation by running the following inside a Python interpreter:

import gmt

Finding the GMT shared library

Sometimes, GMT/Python will be unable to find the correct version of the GMT shared library. This can happen if you have multiple versions of GMT installed.

You can tell GMT/Python exactly where to look for libgmt by setting the GMT_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable. This should be set to the directory where (or .dylib) is found. Only use this as a last resort. Setting the path in this way means that GMT/Python will not be able to easily find the correct libgmt when you’re changing conda environments.

If you installed GMT using conda and the instructions above, place the following in your ~/.bashrc file:

export GMT_LIBRARY_PATH=$HOME/anaconda3/envs/gmt-python/lib

You should change $HOME/anaconda3 to wherever you installed Anaconda (this is the default for Linux).