Install QGIS in Ubuntu¶
Instructions to install QGIS 3 in Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 18.04 LTS, as of January 2019.
The instructions on the QGIS website to install QGIS on Ubuntu are a little bit ambiguous, so these are the steps I recommend you follow for most purposes.
Each new version of Ubuntu usually has the most up–to–date libraries available at the time of its release, but these are not typically updated as these libraries are updated. That means that the libraries in the latest LTS of Ubuntu are now nearly a year old. In most cases this behaviour is desirable because it stops clashing versions of software being installed and causing problems, but in some cases it can cause its own problems because software that depends on newer libraries cannot use them.
From experience newer QGIS versions tend to depend on libraries more
recent than those available by default, so we can add a repository of
more up–to–date GIS libraries. These generally do not interact with much
else on the system so can be safely installed. If you’re an R user they
are also useful for using
sf and related libraries.
ubuntugis-unstable follow the instructions at
ubuntugis-unstable: Adding this PPA to your
In short, open a terminal (default CTRL + ALT + T) and copy/type:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable sudo apt-get update
You’ll be asked for your password (it’s the same one you use to login).
Don’t worry about the
unstable in the name. It doesn’t mean it will
keep crashing; it’s just not yet as thoroughly tested as the
unstable libraries are perfectly adequate for
production systems, just not anything mission–critical.
Add the QGIS public key¶
To keep your installation safe make sure you add the QGIS public key. This is a way for your system to automatically verify the software it downloads so that nothing malicious is installed on your system.
Under the Debian/Ubuntu installation instructions there is a section that says:
In case of keyserver errors add the qgis.org repository public key to your apt keyring, type:
wget -O - https://qgis.org/downloads/qgis-2017.gpg.key | gpg --import gpg --fingerprint CAEB3DC3BDF7FB45
Enter these commands in your terminal. The
wget line downloads the
key and the
gpg line outputs a fingerprint calculated from the key
you just downloaded. Ensure this fingerprint printed in your teminal
matches the one on the QGIS website.
Once you’ve checked this you then need to activate the key with:
gpg --export --armor CAEB3DC3BDF7FB45 | sudo apt-key add -
Finally to install QGIS open
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
You might need to enter your password again, then copy and paste the following three lines to the bottom of this file:
# QGIS Ubuntugis-unstable dependencies deb https://qgis.org/ubuntugis-ltr bionic main deb-src https://qgis.org/ubuntugis-ltr bionic main
Then save (CTRL + s) then exit.
/etc/apt/sources.list is a list of places Ubuntu can download
software from. We are adding QGIS servers to this list so that Ubuntu
knows where to download it from.
sudo apt install qgis python-qgis
This will install the basic packages needed and you should now be able to run QGIS! You might need to install additional libraries later, but these can be installed as necessary.
Notes on QGIS version¶
I recommend installing the most recent LTR version of QGIS for most purposes. This is supported for longer so is the better choice for most environments.