Compiling MRPT

This page describes how to build MRPT from sources. If you want instead to install the binaries and getting quickly into developing your MRPT-based applications, go to the download page and grab the binaries for your system or install via apt-get in Ubuntu.

See this table for a summary of what external libraries MRPT needs and what are they used for, so you can decide which ones are really needed for your application.


1.1. On Windowsicon_win

1.1.1 CMake (Mandatory)

To install the CMake build system, follow the instructions at

1.1.2 wxWidgets (Optional, but recommended)

In addition to the following notes, read the project’s wiki:

Get the latest stable source package of wxWidgets (as .zip or .7z) from its download page. Decompress it in a directory where CMake can easily find it (e.g. C:\wxWidgets).

NOTE: For wxWidgets versions before 2.9 you’ll have to manually modify the flag to compile the OpenGL support of wxWidgets. This is achieved by setting wxUSE_GLCANVAS to 1 (the default is 0). This is the part of the file wxwidgets\include\wx\msw\setup.h that has to be modified:

NOTE 2: Depending on the exact compiler version, you may find an error complaining about missing “<pbt.h>” header in the file “\src\msw\window.cpp”. You can safely edit that window.cpp file and comment out the include, like this:

Build for 32bit:

Open the MSVC 32bit command-line prompt (from the start menu -> MSVC -> Visual Studio Tools), do a “cd” to the WXWIDGETS/build/msw directory and run:


Build for 64bit:
Open the MSVC 64bit command-line prompt (from the start menu -> MSVC -> Visual Studio Tools), do a “cd” to the WXWIDGETS/build/msw directory and run:


1.1.3 OpenCV (Optional, but strongly recommended)

It is recommended to compile MRPT against OpenCV 2.0.0 (or newer).

For the latest version check out

Once OpenCV is compiled with CMake, running “Configure” in MRPT’s CMake project will automatically detect the OpenCV build directory (where you have generated the projects with CMake) and will use it. If not detected automagically, set OpenCV_DIR to the build directory of OpenCV.

1.1.4 FFmpeg for Win32 (Optional)

The FFmpeg libraries are optional, and they are only needed if you want to use CFFMPEG_InputStream, mainly for supporting IP cameras. Directly download and decompress anywhere in your disk :

Then when running CMake (cmake-gui), enable MRPT_HAS_FFMPEG_WIN32, press “Configure” and then set FFMPEG_WIN32_ROOT_DIR to the directory where FFmpeg binaries have been uncompressed (e.g. “c:\ffmpeg-r16537-gpl-lshared-win32”).

The FFmpeg DLLs will be required at runtime by programs compiled with MRPT under Windows, so make sure the directory /bin is in the system PATH.

If you use a modern version of ffmpeg with Visual Studio 2008 (or older) you may find this error at some places:

e:\code\ffmpeg-git-5501afa-win32-dev\include\libavutil\mathematics.h(24) : fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: 'stdint.h': No such file or directory

... : fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: 'inttypes.h': No such file or directory 

A quick solution is to change those lines to:


1.1.5 OpenKinect’s freenect (Optional, only if want to use Kinect)

Please, read this page where all the posibilities are explained.

1.1.6 PCL, the Point Cloud Library (Optional)

Download, build and install PCL as explained in the official website:

At present, only a little functionality is provided for interaction of MRPT with PCL (check out the changelogs for details).

1.1.7 SuiteSparse (Optional)

Download, compile and build the “install” target of the SuiteSparse-for-windows project. Then, from MRPT’s CMake configuration, set SuiteSparse_DIR to the “install” directory.

Note that the install directory can be any user directory, it does not have to be in “Program Files”.

1.1.8 WinPCap (libpcap for Windows)

Used to read/write PCAP files in the Velodyne sensor classes. Download and install the WinPCap development packages and set the (advanced CMake variables) PCAP_INCLUDE_DIR and PCAP_LIBRARY to “WpdPacl/Include” and “wpcap.lib“, respectivaly.

GNU/Linux (generic)

1.2. On GNU/Linux


See also how the simplest way of installing with apt-get in Ubuntu.

These are the recommended libraries (the development packages!) that should exist in your system (see below for short instructions for Ubuntu/Debian/Fedora). Note that all of them are optional, but most of them are really recommended.

  • Eigen
  • SuiteSparse
  • OpenCV
  • wxWidgets
  • ffmpeg libraries (libavcodec, libswscale, etc.)
  • Freeglut or glut
  • zlib
  • libjpeg
  • libftdi (optional)
  • libdc1394-22
  • libusb-1.0 or libfreenect-dev (For Kinect support)
  • PCL, the Point Cloud Library (Optional, and only for MRPT 0.9.5+)
  • libudev (if you want support for XSens MT4 devices; MRTP 1.3.0+)
  • libpcap (to support PCAP reading for Velodyne datasets)
Ubuntu / Debian

1.3. Ubuntu / Debian


Naturally, if you want to use custom builds of some of those dependencies (for example, if you compiled OpenCV from sources), remove them from the list to avoid having duplicated libraries!


1.4. Fedora



1.5. OpenSUSE (updated to OpenSUSE 13)

At first make sure you have the packman-repository activate.

To install all mandatory and optional libraries used by MRPT, install these packages (whenever Yast asks you to do so, do a switchover to the architecture of packman):

Most packages demand a lot of dependencies to be installed. Be sure to install them all. Be sure that the development-package of libjpeg-devel-8.0 is NOT installed before you proceed.

After that you can proceed with compiling MRPT (calling ccmake or cmake-gui as described below). Optionally, after compiling MRPT execute the following two commands as root:

If you don’t want to do a make install, you will have to set MRPT_DIR to the build directory in your CMake scripts.

Warning: There might be a conflict situation between the devel-packages of libjpeg. If you compile programs with MRPT successfully but when you try to execute them you got an error like:

make sure that libjpeg-devel-8.0 is not installed on the system. If this error appears you have compiled MRPT while having the packet installed. If you installed MRPT with make install, then run as root make uninstall and recompile MRPT.

(Thanks to Markus Wenzel for providing this guide!)


icon_macos1.6. On Mac

Building under MacOS is not yet working 100%. Instructions will be given when we solve all the problems.

2. CMake build options

Using cmake-gui

2.1. Using cmake-gui

Open cmake-gui (Available for Windows/Linux) and set the “source dir” to the root directory of the MRPT source package you have downloaded. Set the “binary directory” to a new, empty directory where to generate the project files. Press “configure”, check for errors, tune the options as required (read below for a description of some options) and finally click “Generate”.

From the console

2.2. Using cmake from the console

This choice is available for Windows/Linux/MacOS. Go to a new, empty directory where to generate the project/Makefiles files and run:

Replace “/home/…/MRPT” with your actual path to the MRPT source package you have just downloaded. This will use all the default options. To tune them, invoke (available for Linux/MacOS):

screenshot_cmake_console_linux(Click the image to see it at full size)

2.3. Interesting build options

For all platforms/compilers:

  • BUILD_APPLICATIONS : By default ON, if unchecked the applications won’t be built. Useful if you only want to build MRPT libraries. Notice that you can also always use the MRPT_BUILD_DIR/libs/MRPT_ALL_LIB.* solution (or Makefile) to achieve the same.
  • BUILD_ARIA : Whether to build or not the embedded ARIA library for interfacing Activemedia Robots. Default is ON. Disable it to save build time if you don’t plan to use those robots.
  • BUILD_xSENS : Whether to use the CMT library for interfacing xSens inertial sensors. Default is ON.
  • BUILD_EXAMPLES : Whether you want to compile all the examples in the “/samples” directory. Default is OFF.
  • BUILD_KINECT : By default ON. Uncheck if you don’t have the required dependencies (read above for your OS).
  • BUILD_SHARED_LIBS : Build static libraries if set to OFF, or dynamic libraries (.so/.dll) otherwise. Default is ON, and it’s strongly recommended to always use shared libs unless you have special need for static ones.
  • EIGEN_USE_EMBEDDED_VERSION : By default ON, instructs MRPT to use the Eigen headers in MRPT/otherlibs/eigen3/. Uncheck if you have Eigen installed in the system and it’s visible through pkg-config. It’s recommended to uncheck this option if you have eigen3 installed in your system (today, eigen3 it’s not yet in any distro repository, that’s why it’s ON by default).
  • MRPT_ALWAYS_CHECKS_DEBUG : If set to ON, additional security checks will be performed at run-time in many classes. Default is OFF.
  • MRPT_ALWAYS_CHECKS_DEBUG_MATRICES : If set to ON, additional security checks will be performed at run-time in several Matrix operations. Default is ON.
  • MRPT_ENABLE_EMBEDDED_ENABLED_PROFILER : If enabled, all code blocks within macros "MRPT_BEGIN/MRPT_END" will be profiled and the statistics dumped to the console at the end of execution of any program. Default is OFF.
  • MRPT_HAS_ASIAN_FONTS : Enables Asian fonts in mrpt::utils::CCanvas (see this page), but increases library size by 1.5Mb. Default is ON.
  • MRPT_HAS_SVS : To enable integration of the Videre SVS libraries to interface their stereo cameras. You’ll need the vendor libraries installed in the system before to enable this option. After setting this option to “ON”, the new configuration fields “SVS_ROOT_DIR” will appear and will be tried to be set pointing to the directory where the library is (As of Aug/2010, this option only works in GNU/Linux).
  • MRPT_OCCUPANCY_GRID_CELLSIZE : Can be either 8 or 16 (bits). The size of each cell in the class mrpt::slam::COccupancyGridMap2D. Default is 8 bits. More on this here.
  • PCL_DIR : If you have the Point Cloud Library installed in your system, set this variable to the path to your PCLConfig.cmake file to enable its integration from MRPT.
  • USER_EXTRA_CPP_FLAGS : You can add here whatever additional flags to be passed to the compiler.

For Windows only:

  • MRPT_HAS_FFMPEG_WIN32 : Enable this and (after running “Configure”) then set FFMPEG_WIN32_ROOT_DIR to the directory where FFmpeg binaries have been uncompressed (e.g. “c:\ffmpeg-r16537-gpl-lshared-win32”).
  • MRPT_HAS_BUMBLEBEE : To enable integration of the Bumblebee stereo camera SDK. You’ll need the vendor provided “Triclops” and “Digiclops” libraries. After setting this option to “ON”, the new configuration fields “BUMBLEBEE_DIGICLOPS_ROOT_DIR” and “BUMBLEBEE_TRICLOPS_ROOT_DIR” will appear where the correct corresponding paths must be entered.

For GNU GCC compiler only:

  • MRPT_ENABLE_LIBSTD_PARALLEL_MODE : Enables the GNU libstdc++ parallel mode (See Default is OFF.
  • MRPT_ENABLE_PROFILING : Enables generation of information required for profiling. Default is OFF.
  • MRPT_OPTIMIZE_NATIVE : Enables optimization for the current architecture (-mtune=native). Default is OFF for old GCC versions, ON for 4.2+. If you have an old version of GCC (<4.2), this option cannot be set since it’s not recognized by the compiler. Instead, set USER_EXTRA_CPP_FLAGS to the optimization flags for your platform, for example: -march=pentium4.

3. Generate Makefiles/IDE Projects

Just select your preferred Makefile/IDE system with CMake. Supported targets are 32/64 bit Visual Studio projects, Unix Makefiles, Codeblocks projects with MinGW, MinGW Makefiles, etc… For the Eclipse IDE, there exist several ways of integration with CMake.

For Netbeans:

  • First, make sure to have installed the C/C++ plugin!
  • Menu File -> New Project…: C/C++ -> C/C++ Project with Existing Sources.
  • Click next and select the MRPT root dir which contains the CMakeList.txt file.
  • In “Select Configuration Mode”, choose Automatic and “cmake” should appear as autodetected.

4. Compile

Just build as usual: from Visual Studio click on “Build all” for the targets you want to build (Debug or Release), for Unix Makefiles invoke:

After building everything, it’s a good idea to run the tests by building the “test” target under Visual Studio or by “make test” in Unix/MacOS.

5. Special instructions for other compilers


5.1. MinGW in Windows

  • Install MinGW: Recommended:
  • Before compiling MRPT with MinGW, it’s strongly recommended to compile wxWidgets and OpenCV with MinGW:
  • Build wxWidgets. Open a command prompt and go to the directory build/msw. Then execute the following commands to rebuild the Release and Debug configurations (as shared libs), so CMake can correctly detect wxWidgets:
    As usual with make, add a -j4 if you have a DualCore, etc… to compile faster in parallel. For building wxWidgets with MinGW for 64bit you’ll need to add TARGET_CPU=amd64 to the parameters above. Otherwise, even with MinGW64 you’ll obtain 32bit builds.
  • Build OpenCV. Use its CMake build system, select the MinGW compiler and follow the generic OpenCV compilation instructions.
  • Open cmake-gui and select the source directory and an empty target (binary) directory.
  • Press configure and in the compilers dialog pick MinGW Makefiles. If you obtain an error like:
    it means MinGW is not correctly installed in the system. Review the installation process described above.
  • If everything goes fine, you’ll see the new CMake variables remarked in red. Go through the normal configuration process for MRPT, and when you are satisfied, press Generate.
  • Open a console and in the newly created binary directory, invoke:
    either by writing the full path (e.g. c:\MinGW\bin\mingw32-make) or by adding the “bin” directory of your MinGW installation to the system PATH. This should start the normal build process.

5.2. clang in GNU/Linux

  • Install clang and LLVM. In Debian/Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install clang llvm
  • Create an empty build directory and invoke CMake with:[sourcecode] CC=/usr/bin/clang CXX=/usr/bin/clang++ cmake [PATH_TO_MRPT_SOURCES_ROOT] [/sourcecode]
  • Build as with GNU gcc.