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I have followed various online help guides on how to make ecw for QGIS 1.8 work in Ubuntu 12.04. I had it all working in Ubuntu 10.04 but since migration to 12.04 no such luck.

Is there a guide that works for Ubuntu 12.04?

At the moment it seems easier to install the windows version where ecw support is included in the install, but I would like to stay with Ubuntu.

cheers and thanks for any advice.


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[Installing (lib)gdal-ecw][1] doesn't do the trick? [1]: – lynxlynxlynx Jun 12 '12 at 8:31
Well done Luke, it works perfect on my x64 Ubuntu 13.04 Raring on QGIS 1.80! ;-) – Nebojša Tanasković Aug 13 '13 at 16:45
I get gdal-ecw-build: command not found – jurgena Apr 5 '14 at 22:50

ECW libraries are not open source software and cannot be freely distributed. You need to add manually the ecw support in your local copy of gdal. On ubuntu do this:

cd libecwj2-3.3
sudo make install
sudo gdal-ecw-build /usr/local/ 
sudo ldconfig
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Many thanks Giovanni. I just precise that the libgdal-ecw-src package from ubunutugis ppa have to be installed to make it work – simo Jun 13 '12 at 15:59
It should be available now – Giovanni Manghi Jun 30 '12 at 15:09

The Intergraph ECW JPEG2000 SDK v5.0 has been released and includes linux support. The ubuntugis-unstable ppa has been updated to include SDK v5.0 support in libgdal-ecw-src.


  • As at 27 July 2013 build fails on 32bit Ubuntu
  • ECW/JP2ECW drivers fail using Python bindings, gdal executables work fine.
  • This SDK is licensed for Desktop use only and has been reported to fail if attempting to use it in a Server application.

To get the ECW JPEG2000 SDK v5.0 working in ubuntu 12.04 - 13.04 64bit:

  • update (or install) libgdal-ecw-src from the UbuntuGIS Unstable PPA
  • download the SDK installer (ERDAS_ECWJP2_SDK-5.0.bin)
  • make it executable (chmod +x ERDAS_ECWJP2_SDK-5.0.bin)
  • run it (./ERDAS_ECWJP2_SDK-5.0.bin)
  • copy the SDK directory to /usr/local (sudo cp -r ecwjp2_sdk /usr/local/)
  • symlink to /usr/local/lib (sudo ln -s /usr/local/ecwjp2_sdk/lib/x64/release/ /usr/local/lib/
  • update ldconfig (sudo ldconfig)
  • run the gdal-ecw-build script (sudo gdal-ecw-build /usr/local/ecwjp2_sdk)
  • test it works:

    gdalinfo --formats | grep -i ecw

    ECW (rw+): ERDAS Compressed Wavelets (SDK 5.0)

    JP2ECW (rw+v): ERDAS JPEG2000 (SDK 5.0)

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To use python bindings this is a workaround that worked for me: 1. Install SDK 5.0 library in ecwjp2_sdk directory; 2. Compile gdal library from source with the following syntax: . / configure - with-python = yes - with-ecw = / path/to/SDK/ecwjp2_sdk – MickyInTheSky May 6 '14 at 10:40
@Micky yes, compiling the entire gdal library from source works, I noted that in the ticket I raised about the gdal-ecw-build script. It should probably be added to my answer. – Luke May 6 '14 at 10:49
Yes it should, for completeness. For me there is no problem if you want to update the answer. – MickyInTheSky May 6 '14 at 10:57
By now, the SDK has switched to 5.1. I described an updated workflow for Ubuntu 14.04 here:…. For 12.04, you don't have to download the build script manually, apt-get install will work. – AndreJ Jun 15 '14 at 12:19

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