System Requirements

pycsw is written in Python, and works with (tested) Python 3. Python 2 is no longer supported.

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
  • xmltodict for working with XML similar to working with JSON
  • geolinks for dealing with geospatial links


You can install these dependencies via pip


For GeoNode or Open Data Catalog or HHypermap 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 pycsw/
$ 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 pycsw/ 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 pycsw package in openSUSE Leap (stable distribution), one can run the following commands as user root:

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

In order to install the pycsw package in openSUSE Tumbleweed (rolling distribution), one can run the following commands as user root:

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

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

Installing on Ubuntu/Mint

In order to install the most recent pycsw release to an Ubuntu-based distribution, one can use the UbuntuGIS Unstable repository by running the following commands:

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

Alternatively, one can use the UbuntuGIS Stable repository which includes older but very well tested versions:

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


Since Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial release, pycsw is included by default in the official Multiverse repository.

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.


MS4W (MapServer for Windows) as of its version 4.0 release includes pycsw, Apache’s mod_wsgi, Python 3.7, and many other tools, all ready to use out of the box. After installing, you will find your local pycsw catalogue endpoint, and steps for further configuration, on your browser’s localhost page. You can read more about pycsw inside MS4W here.


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 pycsw/ in your WSGI server environment.


mod_wsgi supports only the version of python it was compiled with. If the target server already supports WSGI applications, pycsw will need to use the same python version. WSGIDaemonProcess provides a python-path directive that may allow a virtualenv created from the python version mod_wsgi uses.

Below is an example of configuring with Apache:

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

or use the WSGI reference implementation:

$ python ./pycsw/
Serving on port 8000...

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