System Requirements

pycsw is written in Python, and works with (tested) version 2.6 and 2.7

pycsw requires the following Python supporting libraries:

  • lxml for XML support
  • SQLAlchemy for database bindings
  • pyproj for coordinate transformations
  • Shapely for spatial query / geometry support
  • OWSLib for CSW client and metadata parser


You can install these dependencies via easy_install or pip


For GeoNode or Open Data Catalog deployments, SQLAlchemy is not required

Installing from Source

Download the latest stable version or fetch from Git.

For Developers and the Truly Impatient

The 4 minute install:

$ virtualenv pycsw && cd pycsw && . bin/activate
$ git clone && cd pycsw
$ pip install -e . && pip install -r requirements-standalone.txt
$ cp default-sample.cfg default.cfg
$ vi default.cfg
# adjust paths in
# - server.home
# - repository.database
# set server.url to http://localhost:8000/
$ python csw.wsgi
$ curl http://localhost:8000/?service=CSW&version=2.0.2&request=GetCapabilities

The Quick and Dirty Way

$ git clone git://

Ensure that CGI is enabled for the install directory. For example, on Apache, if pycsw is installed in /srv/www/htdocs/pycsw (where the URL will be http://host/pycsw/, add the following to httpd.conf:

<Location /pycsw/>
 Options +FollowSymLinks +ExecCGI
 Allow from all
 AddHandler cgi-script .py


If pycsw is installed in cgi-bin, this should work as expected. In this case, the tests application must be moved to a different location to serve static HTML documents.

Make sure, you have all the dependencies from requirements.txt and requirements-standalone.txt

The Clean and Proper Way

$ git clone git://
$ python build
$ python install

At this point, pycsw is installed as a library and requires a CGI or WSGI csw.wsgi script to be served into your web server environment (see below for WSGI configuration/deployment).

Installing from the Python Package Index (PyPi)

# easy_install or pip will do the trick
$ easy_install pycsw
# or
$ pip install pycsw

Installing from OpenSUSE Build Service

In order to install the OBS package in openSUSE 12.3, one can run the following commands as user root:

# zypper -ar GEO
# zypper -ar python
# zypper refresh
# zypper install python-pycsw pycsw-cgi

For earlier openSUSE versions change 12.3 with 12.2. For future openSUSE version use Factory.

An alternative method is to use the One-Click Installer.

Installing on Ubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu

In order to install pycsw to an Ubuntu based distribution, one can run the following commands:

# sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pycsw/stable
# sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get install python-pycsw pycsw-cgi

An alternative method is to use the OSGeoLive installation script located in pycsw/etc/dist/osgeolive:

# cd pycsw/etc/dist
# sudo ./

The script installs the dependencies (Apache, lxml, sqlalchemy, shapely, pyproj) and then pycsw to /var/www.

Running on Windows

For Windows installs, change the first line of to:

#!/Python27/python -u


The use of -u is required to properly output gzip-compressed responses.


By default, default.cfg is at the root of the pycsw install. If pycsw is setup outside an HTTP server’s cgi-bin area, this file could be read. The following options protect the configuration:

  • move default.cfg to a non HTTP accessible area, and modify to point to the updated location
  • configure web server to deny access to the configuration. For example, in Apache, add the following to httpd.conf:
<Files ~ "\.(cfg)$">
 order allow,deny
 deny from all

Running on WSGI

pycsw supports the Web Server Gateway Interface (WSGI). To run pycsw in WSGI mode, use csw.wsgi in your WSGI server environment. Below is an example of configuring with Apache:

WSGIDaemonProcess host1 home=/var/www/pycsw processes=2
WSGIProcessGroup host1
WSGIScriptAlias /pycsw-wsgi /var/www/pycsw/csw.wsgi
<Directory /var/www/pycsw>
  Order deny,allow
  Allow from all

or use the WSGI reference implementation:

$ python ./csw.wsgi
Serving on port 8000...

which will publish pycsw to http://localhost:8000/