Metview's documentation is now on readthedocs!

Note: this guide provides information on how to build Metview from source. Please consider installing a pre-built version, as described in the Releases page.


Metview uses CMake for its compilation and installation, in line with all other ECMWF packages. Note that there are other ways to install Metview from pre-built binary packages, or from a source bundle that includes many dependencies. See Releases.

CMake installation instructions

The CMake build system is used to build ECMWF software. The build process comprises two stages:

  1. CMake runs some tests on the system and finds out if required software libraries and headers are available. It uses this information to create native build tools (e.g. Makefiles) for the current platform.
  2. The actual build can take place, for example by typing 'make'.


To install any ECMWF software package, CMake needs to be installed on your system. On most systems it will be already installed or this can be done through the standard package manager to install software. For further information to install CMake see


During a build with CMake there are three different directories involved: The source dir, the build dir and the install dir.

SourceContains the software's source code. This is where a source tarball should be extracted to./tmp/src/sw-package
BuildConfiguration and compiler outputs are generated here, including libraries and executables./tmp/build/sw-package
InstallWhere the software will actually be used from. Installation to this directory is the final stage./usr/local

Of these, the source and build directories can be anywhere on the system. The installation directory is usually left at its default, which is /usr/local. Installing software here ensures that it is automatically available to users. It is possible to specify a different installation directory by adding -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path/to/install/dir to the CMake command line.

ECMWF software does not support in-source builds. Therefore the build directory cannot be (a subdirectory of) the source directory.

Quick Build Example

Here is an example set of commands to set up and build a software package using default settings. More detail for a customised build is given below.

# unpack the source tarball into a temporary directory
mkdir -p /tmp/src
cd /tmp/src
tar xzvf software-version-Source.tar.gz

# configure and build in a separate directory
mkdir -p /tmp/build
cd /tmp/build
cmake /tmp/src/software-version-Source

On a machine with multiple cores, compilation will be faster by specifying the number of cores to be used simultaneously for the build, for example:

make -j8

If the make command fails, you can get more output by typing:

make VERBOSE=1

The software distribution will include a small set of tests which can help ensure that the build was successful. To start the tests, type:


As before if you have multiple cores, you can run the tests in parallel by:

ctest -j8

Some projects might not be set up to run tests in parallel. If you experience test failures, run the tests sequentially.

If the tests are successful, you can install the software:

make install

General CMake options

Various options can be passed to the CMake command. The following table gives an overview of some of the general options that can be used. Options are passed to the cmake command by prefixing them with -D, for example -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path/to/dir.

CMake Option
where to install the software/usr/local

to select the type of compilation:

  • Debug
  • RelWithDebInfo
  • Release
  • Production
(release with debug info)
 Additional flags to pass to the C++ compiler 
Additional flags to pass to the C compiler 
Additional flags to pass to the Fortran compiler 

The C, C++ and Fortran compilers are chosen by CMake. This can be overwritten by setting the environment variables CC, CXX and F77, before the call to cmake, to set the preferred compiler. Further the variable CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS can be used to set compiler flags for optimisation or debugging. For example, using CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS="-O2 -mtune=native" sets options for better optimisation. 

Finding support libraries

If any support libraries are installed in non-default locations, CMake can be instructed where to find them by one of the following methods. First, the option CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH can be set to a colon-separated list of base directories where the libraries are installed, for example -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/where/my/sw/is/installed. CMake will check these directories for any package it requires. This method is therefore useful if many support libraries are installed into the same location.


Debugging configure failures

If CMake fails to configure your project, run with debug logging first:

cmake -DECBUILD_LOG_LEVEL=DEBUG [...] /path/to/source

This will output lots of diagnostic information (in blue) on discovery of dependencies and much more.

Requirements to build Metview

The following table lists the dependencies Metview requires to be built from source. Please note, if you install these package from source you also might have to install the respective "-devel" packages.



Third party packages

(best installed through system package manager)

Qt 5

if Metview's user interface is required.

Note that on some systems it is also necessary to install the libQtWebKit-devel development package (it may have different names on different systems)

netcdf 4

Please note: You also will need to install HDF5 and the legacy C++ interface if you wish to run the Single Column Model from Metview (ECMWF only)

Optional for web services support (WMS, Download module)


ECMWF libraries
ecCodesecCodes Home
magicsMagicsif plotting support is needed. Note that Magics should be configured with the -DENABLE_METVIEW=ON option.

For a 'pure batch' installation of Metview with no user interface, it is possible to supply Magics with the option -DENABLE_METVIEW_NO_QT=ON

odcODC Home / ODB-API Homeif ODB support needed
emoslibEMOSLIBoptional and deprecated

CMake options used in Metview

CMake options are passed to the cmake command by prefixing them with -D, for example -DENABLE_UI=OFF.

CMake option
ENABLE_UIenables the Qt-based user interfaceON
ENABLE_PLOTTINGenables plotting capabilities using MagicsON
ENABLE_METVIEW_FORTRANenables inline Fortran code inside macrosOFF (since Metview 5.10.2)
ENABLE_MARSenables MARS access (not required if using through the Web API)OFF
MARS_LOCAL_HOMEsets the path to where local MARS is installed
ENABLE_ODBenables processing and plotting of ODB dataOFF
ENABLE_MARS_ODBenables ODB capabilities in MARS clientOFF
ENABLE_USAGE_LOGenables logging of Metview startup callsOFF
LOG_DIRpath to where to log the Metview startup calls
ENABLE_METVIEW_FORTRANenables inline Fortran code inside macrosOFF (since Metview 5.10.2)
METVIEW_SCRIPTname of the generated Metview startup scriptmetview
EXTRA_CONFIG_PATHpath to optional directory containing metview_local* script files
ENABLE_QT_DEBUGoutputs additional log messages from Qt-based modulesOFF
EXTRA_TITLEbuild-specific title to add to the log entries
ENABLE_INPEenables INPE modulesOFF
Path options - only required when support libraries are not installed in default locations
CMake OptionDescriptionNotes
ECCODES_PATHpath to where ecCodes has been installed
MAGICS_PATHpath to where Magics has been installedOnly required if plotting is enabled
NETCDF_PATHpath to where netCDF has been installed
ODC_PATHpath to where ODC has been installedOnly required if ODB is enabled
ODB_PATHpath to where the original ODB has been installedOptional if ODB is enabled
EMOS_PATHpath to where Emoslib has been installedAlso set EMOS_LIB_NAME
FDB_PATHpath to where fdb has been installedOnly required if MARS is enabled
FLEXTRA_PATHpath to where the FLEXTRA executable has been installedSee Tutorials for more on FLEXTRA

Notes for installers of Metview 3

If you have installed Metview 3 before, then here are some things to note. Metview 5 does not use directly OpenGL for its on-screen graphics; therefore, it is not necessary to build your own Mesa library anymore.

Metview 5 can be installed side-by-side with an existing Metview 3 installation. However, note that the default startup script will be


so make sure this will not clash with an existing installation. See the table of CMake options for the flag which will allow you to change this.


See also the Installation FAQ.


  1. Hi! Just to comment that I have installed Metview in my laptop (debian 8) and I also needed libcurl-gnutls-dev (third party library), flex and bison (utilities). Installation went smooth after these extras were available.

    1. Thanks for that info Juan!

  2. How to run Metview after installing via conda. How to open the GUI? Could you please explain this?

    1. Hi, just type 'metview'. If nothing appears on screen, type 'metview -slog' to get more information.

      Cheers, Iain

      1. Thanks a lot. I have been trying to install metview via cmake. But so much dependencies issue with Proj and fortran. But conda install seems so easy and time saving. Thanks a again.

        1. You're welcome! In fact, the Metview 5.10.2 has Fortran support disabled by default, which will probably help some people! Glad you like the conda installation.

          1. Which means, I had to install without Fortran? Like using without-Fortran flags on CMake? I felt instructions aren't clear on CMake installation, or it must be an issue with my particular system. Because I have installed bison, Flex, and other things for GrADS or something from source.

            The new issue I am facing is I cannot install Magics via conda installation.

            conda install -n metv -c conda-forge magics

            Collecting package metadata (current_repodata.json): done
            Solving environment: failed with initial frozen solve. Retrying with flexible solve.
            Solving environment: failed with repodata from current_repodata.json, will retry with next repodata source.
            Collecting package metadata (repodata.json): done
            Solving environment: failed with initial frozen solve. Retrying with flexible solve.
            Solving environment: / 
            Found conflicts! Looking for incompatible packages.
            This can take several minutes.  Press CTRL-C to abort.
            failed                                                                                                                                             /  
            UnsatisfiableError: The following specifications were found to be incompatible with each other:
            Output in format: Requested package -> Available versions
            Package libgomp conflicts for:
            libopenblas -> _openmp_mutex[version='>=4.5'] -> libgomp[version='>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0']
            _openmp_mutex -> libgomp[version='>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0']
            libgcc-ng -> _openmp_mutex[version='>=4.5'] -> libgomp[version='>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0']
            openblas -> _openmp_mutex[version='>=4.5'] -> libgomp[version='>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0']
            Package libstdcxx-ng conflicts for:
            wheel -> python -> libstdcxx-ng[version='>=4.9|>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0|>=9.3.0|>=7.2.0']
            fontconfig -> icu[version='>=68.1,<69.0a0'] -> libstdcxx-ng[version='>=4.9|>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0|>=7.2.0']
            magics -> expat[version='>=2.2.5,<2.3.0a0'] -> libstdcxx-ng[version='>=4.9|>=7.2.0']
            graphite2 -> libstdcxx-ng[version='>=4.9|>=7.3.0|>=7.5.0|>=7.2.0']

            this list goes on with so much of conflicts. I made new environment for metview and magics. Metview installed well, but showing conflicts for Magics.  Why I am getting this error? I m not sure I am supposed to post about Magics here or not.

            1. Hi,

              The proper channel is to go through here:

              But this one should be quite easy!

              I can see that the CMake flags on this page are not up to date. You needed to add -DENABLE_METVIEW_FORTRAN=OFF to your CMake line.

              For conda, in fact when you install metview, you automatically get a copy of magics installed (you should see it as the package 'magics-metview'. This is a full version of magics, with an extra added library to make it work with metview. But you cannot install this and the standalone magics at the same time, hence the error. But you're not losing anything by having the magics-metview instead of magics. To get the magics Python bindings, you would need to install magics-python via pip (I think it's also on conda).

              I think any further questions should go through the support hub mentioned above. I hope you manage to get it all working and enjoy using our software!

              Best regards,


  3. Hi Iain,

    It looks like both metview and metview-python have been installed in my virtual environment (see the message below). However, when running "import metview as mv" in Jupyter Notebook, it gave the error message "Could not run the Metview executable ('metview'); check that the binaries for Metview (version 5 at least) are installed and are in the PATH". Could you please help me look into it? Thanks in advance!

    (myenv) ~> conda install metview-python  -c conda-forge

    Collecting package metadata (current_repodata.json): done

    Solving environment: done

    ==> WARNING: A newer version of conda exists. <==

      current version: 4.12.0

      latest version: 23.3.1

    Please update conda by running

        $ conda update -n base conda

    # All requested packages already installed.

    (myenv) ~> conda install metview -c conda-forge

    Collecting package metadata (current_repodata.json): done

    Solving environment: done

    ==> WARNING: A newer version of conda exists. <==

      current version: 4.12.0

      latest version: 23.3.1

    Please update conda by running

        $ conda update -n base conda

    # All requested packages already installed.


    1. Hello, could you create a support ticket for this issue please?

      Thank you!


      1. Hi Iain,

        The issue has been solved. It looks like there was something wrong with my virtual environment. Thanks anyway! Will keep in mind to create a support ticket for future issues. 



  4. Hi Iain, I'll hope all is fine!

    I've a problem installing old MetviewBundle-2022.8.0. I think the URL is no longer active.

    Some suggestion?

    Many thanks! Ciao.



    -- Downloading mask: share/mir/masks/lsm.10min.mask
    curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 502  
    CMake Error at cmake/ecbuild_log.cmake:190 (message):
     CRITICAL - Error downloading                                                                                              
    Call Stack (most recent call first):
     cmake/ecbuild_download_resource.cmake:71 (ecbuild_critical)
     mir/share/mir/masks/CMakeLists.txt:21 (ecbuild_download_resource)

    1. Hi Umberto, I just tried that URL and it worked for me. We've had some occasional issues with the download server when network configurations change - could you simply try again please?

      1. Now all it's ok!

        Ciao Iain! (smile)


        1. Great, you're welcome Umberto - Ciao!