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 \
    git \
    cmake \
    build-essential \
    libboost-program-options-dev \
    libboost-filesystem-dev \
    libboost-graph-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

Under Ubuntu 16.04/18.04 the CMake configuration scripts of CGAL are broken and you must also install the CGAL Qt5 package:

sudo apt-get install libcgal-qt5-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 -j
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 -j
sudo make install

Run COLMAP:

colmap -h
colmap gui

Mac

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

Dependencies from Homebrew:

brew install \
    git \
    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), Visual Studio 2019

On Windows, the recommended way is to build COLMAP using vcpkg:

git clone https://github.com/microsoft/vcpkg
cd vcpkg
.\bootstrap-vcpkg.bat
.\vcpkg install colmap[cuda,tests]:x64-windows

To compile CUDA for multiple compute architectures, please use:

.\vcpkg install colmap[cuda-redist]:x64-windows

Please refer to the next section for more details.

VCPKG

COLMAP ships as part of the vcpkg distribution. This enables to conveniently build COLMAP and all of its dependencies from scratch under different platforms. Note that VCPKG requires you to install CUDA manually in the standard way on your platform. To compile COLMAP using VCPKG, you run:

git clone https://github.com/microsoft/vcpkg
cd vcpkg
./bootstrap-vcpkg.sh
./vcpkg install colmap:x64-linux

VCPKG ships with support for various other platforms (e.g., x64-osx, x64-windows, etc.). To compile with CUDA support and to build all tests:

./vcpkg install colmap[cuda,tests]:x64-linux

The above commands will build the latest release version of COLMAP. To compile the latest commit in the dev branch, you can use the following options:

./vcpkg install colmap:x64-linux --head

To modify the source code, you can further add --editable --no-downloads. Or, if you want to build from another folder and use the dependencies from vcpkg, first run ./vcpkg integrate install and then configure COLMAP as:

cd path/to/colmap
mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=path/to/vcpkg/scripts/buildsystems/vcpkg.cmake
cmake --build . --config release --target colmap_exe --parallel 24

Alternatively, you can also use the Python build script. Please follow the instructions in the next section, but VCPKG is now the recommended approach.

Build Script

Alternative to the above solutions, COLMAP also ships with an automated Python build script. Note that VCPKG is the preferred way to achieve the same now. 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