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From version 4.5, Metview uses CMake for its compilation and installation. This is part of the process of homogenising the installation procedures for all ECMWF packages. 

As with configure, CMake will run some tests on the system to find out if required third-party software libraries are available and notes their locations (paths). Based on this information it will produce the Makefiles needed to compile and install Metview.

CMake is a cross-platform free software program for managing the build process of software using a compiler-independent method.



At ECMWF, openSUSE 11.3, openSUSE 13.1, SLES 11 and Red Hat 6 Linux systems (64bit) were used for the regular usage and testing of Metview. Other Linux platforms are used for occasional testing.

ECMWF support libraries

All required support libraries from ECMWF are available without charge from the Software Services web page:

To produce plots, Magics must be installed:

  • Magics++ (2.24.0 or higher is required)

    • 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

The following two libraries need to be installed (both are required, even if you will not handle GRIB or BUFR data):

  • GRIB_API (1.9.9 or higher is required)

    • see the Installation FAQ for details of building GRIB_API for Metview, as this contains some important information

  • Emoslib

    • version 392:

      • compiled with double floating point precision (answer “y” to “Do you want 64-bit reals? [y,n]”)

      • must be built with GRIB_API support

      • 64-bit versions should be built with -fPIC compilation flag

      • Remember to set the ARCH environment variable before building Emoslib, e.g. export ARCH=linux.
    • OR
    • version 400 or above:
      • compiled with double floating point precision (this is the default)

The latest versions of EmosLib depend on GRIB_API, therefore GRIB_API must be installed before EmosLib.

Required third-party software

First, ensure that all third-party libraries required by Magics and GRIB_API are installed (this is likely to have been fulfilled already unless Magics was built on another system and copied across).

Additionally, the following list of software should be installed on your system before you try to install Metview. If you use a package manager, such as RPM, to install software make sure to include the corresponding development packages with the header files. CMake will test for these libraries and give error messages if an essential one is missing.

  • Qt (4.6.2 or later) if building the user interface (default=yes)
    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 library with C++ interface

  • OpenMotif (if enabling the old user interface with -DENABLE_MOTIF=ON, but OFF is the default)

  • gdbm

  • ImageMagick (Metview uses the convert command during the build process)
  • ksh - the Korn Shell is used by Metview's startup script and some other internal scripts

If you wish to access OPERA radar BUFR data, then you will need to also install the proj4 development libraries.

Compilation environment

Any C++ Compiler which supports features required for the ANSI C++ standard from 1998 (STL, namespaces, templates) should work with Metview. At ECMWF we tested GCC’s g++ 4.1, 4.3 and 4.5 successfully. A Fortran compiler is required to build some of Metview's modules. It will also be required to build EmosLib, for which Cray pointer support is required. At ECMWF the Portland Pgf90 compiler 10.8 and GFortran 4.5 and newer were tested successfully on Linux platforms.

Notes for installers of Metview 3

If you have installed Metview 3 before, then here are some things to note. Metview 4 does not use directly OpenGL for its on-screen graphics; therefore, it is not necessary to build your own Mesa library anymore. However, Metview 4 does not come with its own Emoslib; therefore, it will be necessary to install your own.

Metview 4 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.

Compilation, testing and installation

It is advisable to perform an 'out-of-source build', meaning that the build should take place in a directory separate from where the source code is. Here is an example set of commands to set up and build Metview using default settings:

# unpack the source tarball into a temporary directory
mkdir -p /tmp/src
cd /tmp/src
tar xzvf Metview-4.5.0-Source.tar.gz

# configure and build in a separate directory
mkdir -p /tmp/build
cd /tmp/build
cmake /tmp/src/Metview-4.5.0-Source

Note that Metview supports parallel builds, meaning that on machines with multiple cores it is possible to compile much more quickly using all the available cores, for example:

 make -j 8


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

make test


Although it is possible to run Metview directly from the build directory, it is best to install it. The installation directory is /usr/local by default, but can be changed by adding the -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX  flag to the cmake command. In this case, the configure, build, test and install step would look like this:

cmake /tmp/src/Metview-4.5.0-Source -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path/to/metview_install_dir
make test
make install

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
CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIXwhere you want to install Metview /usr/local

to select the type of compilation:

  • Debug
  • RelWithDebInfo
  • Release
  • Production

In most cases Release is preferable for an optimised version with no debug information

CMAKE_CXX_FLAGSadditional flags  for the C++ compiler, e.g. -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS="-O2 -march=native" 
CMAKE_C_FLAGSadditional flags  for the C compiler 
CMAKE_Fortran_FLAGSadditional flags  for the Fortran compiler 
ENABLE_UIenables the Qt-based user interfaceON

enables the deprecated Motif-based user interface

  • Metview can be started with option -old-ui
ENABLE_PLOTTINGenables plotting capabilities using MagicsON
ENABLE_OPERA_RADARenables the Opera Radar Filter module (requires the proj4 library and headers)OFF
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 
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 modulesON
Path options - only required when support libraries are not installed in default locations
CMake OptionDescriptionNotes
GRIB_API_PATHpath to where GRIB_API has been installed 
MAGICS_PATHpath to where Magics has been installedOnly required if plotting is enabled
NETCDF4_PATHpath to where netCDF has been installed 
ODB_API_PATHpath to where ODB_API 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
PROJ4_PATHpath to where proj4 has been installedOnly required if OPERA Radar is enabled
FLEXTRA_PATHpath to where the FLEXTRA executable has been installedSee Tutorials for more on FLEXTRA



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