Installation

You can either download one of the pre-built binaries or build the source code manually. Executables for Windows and Mac and other resources can be downloaded from https://demuc.de/colmap/. Executables for Linux/Unix/BSD are available at https://repology.org/metapackage/colmap/versions. Note that the COLMAP packages in the default repositories for Linux/Unix/BSD do not come with CUDA support, which requires manual compilation but is relatively easy on these platforms.

COLMAP can be used as an independent application through the command-line or graphical user interface. Alternatively, COLMAP is also built as a reusable library, i.e., you can include and link COLMAP against your own source code, as described further below.

Pre-built Binaries

Windows

For convenience, the pre-built binaries for Windows contain both the graphical and command-line interface executables. To start the COLMAP GUI, you can simply double-click the COLMAP.bat batch script or alternatively run it from the Windows command shell or Powershell. The command-line interface is also accessible through this batch script, which automatically sets the necessary library paths. To list the available COLMAP commands, run COLMAP.bat -h in the command shell cmd.exe or in Powershell.

Mac

The pre-built application package for Mac contains both the GUI and command-line version of COLMAP. To open the GUI, simply open the application and note that COLMAP is shipped as an unsigned application, i.e., when your first open the application, you have to right-click the application and select Open and then accept to trust the application. In the future, you can then simply double-click the application to open COLMAP. The command-line interface is accessible by running the packaged binary COLMAP.app/Contents/MacOS/colmap. To list the available COLMAP commands, run COLMAP.app/Contents/MacOS/colmap -h.

Build from Source

COLMAP builds on all major platforms (Linux, Mac, Windows) with little effort. First, checkout the latest source code:

git clone https://github.com/colmap/colmap

The latest stable version lives in the master branch and the latest development version lives in the dev branch.

On Linux and Mac it is generally recommended to follow the installation instructions below, which use the system package managers to install the required dependencies. Alternatively, there is a Python build script that builds COLMAP and its dependencies locally. This script is useful under Windows and on a (cluster) system if you do not have root access under Linux or Mac.

Linux

Recommended dependencies: CUDA (at least version 7.X)

Dependencies from the default Ubuntu repositories:

sudo apt-get install \
    cmake \
    build-essential \
    libboost-program-options-dev \
    libboost-filesystem-dev \
    libboost-graph-dev \
    libboost-regex-dev \
    libboost-system-dev \
    libboost-test-dev \
    libeigen3-dev \
    libsuitesparse-dev \
    libfreeimage-dev \
    libgoogle-glog-dev \
    libgflags-dev \
    libglew-dev \
    qtbase5-dev \
    libqt5opengl5-dev \
    libcgal-dev

Install Ceres Solver:

sudo apt-get install libatlas-base-dev libsuitesparse-dev
git clone https://ceres-solver.googlesource.com/ceres-solver
cd ceres-solver
git checkout $(git describe --tags) # Checkout the latest release
mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. -DBUILD_TESTING=OFF -DBUILD_EXAMPLES=OFF
make
sudo make install

Configure and compile COLMAP:

git clone https://github.com/colmap/colmap.git
cd colmap
git checkout dev
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
make
sudo make install

Under newer Ubuntu versions it might be necessary to explicitly select the employed GCC version due to compatiblity issues with CUDA, which can be done as:

CC=/usr/bin/gcc-6 CXX=/usr/bin/g++-6 cmake ..

Run COLMAP:

colmap -h
colmap gui

Mac

Recommended dependencies: CUDA (at least version 7.X)

Dependencies from Homebrew:

brew tap homebrew/science
brew install \
    cmake \
    boost \
    eigen \
    freeimage \
    glog \
    gflags \
    suite-sparse \
    ceres-solver \
    qt \
    glew \
    cgal

Configure and compile COLMAP:

git clone https://github.com/colmap/colmap.git
cd colmap
git checkout dev
mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. -DQt5_DIR=/usr/local/opt/qt/lib/cmake/Qt5
make
sudo make install

Run COLMAP:

colmap -h
colmap gui

Windows

Recommended dependencies: CUDA (at least version 7.X), CGAL

On Windows it is recommended to use the Python build script. Please follow the instructions in the next section.

Alternatively, you can install the dependencies manually. Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 and newer are confirmed to compile COLMAP without any issues.

Build Script

COLMAP ships with an automated Python build script. The build script installs COLMAP and its dependencies locally under Windows, Mac, and Linux. Note that under Mac and Linux, it is usually easier and faster to use the available package managers for the dependencies (see above). However, if you are on a (cluster) system without root access, this script might be useful. This script downloads the necessary dependencies automatically from the Internet. It assumes that CMake, Boost, Qt5, CUDA (optional), and CGAL (optional) are already installed on the system. E.g., under Windows you must specify the location of these libraries similar to this:

python scripts/python/build.py \
    --build_path path/to/colmap/build \
    --colmap_path path/to/colmap \
    --boost_path "C:/local/boost_1_64_0/lib64-msvc-14.0" \
    --qt_path "C:/Qt/5.9.3/msvc2015_64" \
    --cuda_path "C:/Program Files/NVIDIA GPU Computing Toolkit/CUDA/v8.0" \
    --cgal_path "C:/dev/CGAL-4.11.2/build"

Note that under Windows you must use forward slashes for specifying the paths here. If you want to compile COLMAP using a specific Visual Studio version, you can for example specify --cmake_generator "Visual Studio 14" for Visual Studio 2015. If you want to open the COLMAP source code in Visual Studio, you can open the solution file in path/to/colmap/build/colmap/build. If you use Homebrew under Mac, you can use the following command:

python scripts/python/build.py \
    --build_path path/to/colmap/build \
    --colmap_path path/to/colmap \
    --qt_path /usr/local/opt/qt

To see the full list of command-line options, pass the --help argument.

Library

If you want to include and link COLMAP against your own library, the easiest way is to use CMake as a build configuration tool. COLMAP automatically installs all headers to ${CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX}/include/colmap, all libraries to ${CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX}/lib/colmap, and the CMake configuration to ${CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX}/share/colmap.

For example, compiling your own source code against COLMAP is as simple as using the following CMakeLists.txt:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8.11)

project(TestProject)

find_package(COLMAP REQUIRED)
# or to require a specific version: find_package(COLMAP 3.4 REQUIRED)

set(CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS "${CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS} -std=c++11")

include_directories(${COLMAP_INCLUDE_DIRS})
link_directories(${COLMAP_LINK_DIRS})

add_executable(hello_world hello_world.cc)
target_link_libraries(hello_world ${COLMAP_LIBRARIES})

with the source code hello_world.cc:

#include <cstdlib>
#include <iostream>

#include <colmap/util/option_manager.h>
#include <colmap/util/string.h>

int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    colmap::InitializeGlog(argv);

    std::string input_path;
    std::string output_path;

    colmap::OptionManager options;
    options.AddRequiredOption("input_path", &input_path);
    options.AddRequiredOption("output_path", &output_path);
    options.Parse(argc, argv);

    std::cout << colmap::StringPrintf("Hello %s!", "COLMAP") << std::endl;

    return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

Documentation

You need Python and Sphinx to build the HTML documentation:

cd path/to/colmap/doc
sudo apt-get install python
pip install sphinx
make html
open _build/html/index.html

Alternatively, you can build the documentation as PDF, EPUB, etc.:

make latexpdf
open _build/pdf/COLMAP.pdf