Installing RGDAL and RGEOS in R on Linux

date: 2014-07-14


The RGDAL package is used by R and RStudio to plot maps. Under Linux you may encounter one or two errors when trying to install the package:

Error: gdal-config not found.
The gdal-config script distributed with GDAL could not be found.


configure: error: proj_api.h not found in standard or given locations.
ERROR: configuration failed for package 'rgdal'

You experience these errors because R in Linux installs the packages from source (rather than a ready-compiled binary) and you need additional libraries to compile RGDAL. Essentially, the packages libgdal-dev and libproj-dev are required and may be missing. To install them on an Ubuntu system open a terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and type (or copy and paste):

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev libproj-dev

To ensure you package lists are up to date and then installs the required packages. Once these are installed on your system you can install the RGDAL package by running the following code inside R:



RGEOS is another essential GIS package in R, even though it tends to be called by other functions and you are not likely to call rgeos functions directly. If you see the following error when you try to install rgeos:

checking geos: linking with libgeos_c... no
/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lgeos
collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
configure: Install failure: compilation and/or linkage problems.
configure: error: initGEOS_r not found in libgeos_c.
ERROR: configuration failed for package ‘rgeos’

You should install libgeos++-dev with:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install libgeos++dev

You should now be able to install rgeos in R as normal with:


Job done.