I bought a imac recently and I tried to install qgis: without success! It is not possible to read the raster files. I installed GDAL ECW plugin, but it is necessary to copy and paste another file from ERDAS ECW/JPEG2000 following this instruction.


You MUST download and install the ECW SDK yourself. I don't have the means to enforce export restrictions. I'm sorry, but installation is a manual process for now:

Go to http://download.intergraph.com/download-portal. Select "ERDAS ECW/JPEG2000 SDK" from the Product popup. Click on the MacOSX line, then the Download Now link.

Open the downloaded disk image and run the installer. It will install into the top of your boot drive, /Intergraph. Dig into this folder to Desktop_Read-Only/redistributable/libstdc++.

Copy the libNCSEcw.dylib file to:

/Library/Application Support/GDAL/1.11/Libraries

and copy the whole Desktop_Read-Only/etc folder here to:

/Library/Application Support/GDAL/1.11

so it looks like (there may be other files in Libraries and PlugIns for other installed plugins):

Library Application Support GDAL 1.11 etc Libraries libNCSEcw.dylib PlugIns gdal_ECW_JP2ECW.dylib

You can trash the installed Intergraph folder when done to save a few hundred MB of space.

I failed the procedure! Could you help me?

  • is there a windows version available?
    – user13670
    Dec 19, 2012 at 14:17
  • This might help you: surfaces.co.il/?p=793
    – GR_
    Dec 19, 2012 at 16:41

5 Answers 5


Get the ECW-Plugin from here:


(scroll to the middle of the page)

  • 8
    @user8780 Please remember to accept the answer if it worked for you.
    – Fezter
    Dec 12, 2012 at 23:08

See here:


you will need to install a "plugin" and then add (compiling I guess) the support into GDAL (using the SDK you MUST download from ERDAS, after accepting their license). For Linux the SDK is no more available (in the ERDAS site), and I don't remember to have seen something for OsX recently.

  • Thanks. I had installed from here but didn't see that there was a ECW plugin package available (under Individual Frameworks / GDLA). This is not included in the GDAL Complete package. Installed this and voilà, ECW format now supported. Jun 12, 2011 at 14:01

I was having the same trouble but following these steps allowed me to use ECW files in QGIS on my Mac hope it helps you too. (Instructions assume you already have QGIS installed and properly working on your machine with GDAL 1.11 framework)

  1. Go to http://download.intergraph.com/download-portal. Search for "ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK v5.2.1 (MacOSX)" from the Product popup. Click Download Now link.

  2. Install GDAL-ECW Plugin from kingssoft ECW plugin v1.11.1-1 http://www.kyngchaos.com/files/software/frameworks/GDAL-ECW_Plugin-1.11.1-1.dmg

  3. Copy lib file from SDK to GDAL library as follows: Open the downloaded disk image and run the installer, select the Desktop Read-Only Redistributable license (or Read-Write if you have a full license). It will install into the top of your boot drive, /Hexagon. Dig into this folder to Desktop_Read-Only/redistributable/libstdc++.

    Copy the libNCSEcw.dylib file to:
            /Library/Application Support/GDAL/1.11/Libraries
  4. Copy SDK's /etc folder into GDAL folder as follows: copy the whole Desktop_Read-Only/etc folder here to the /Library/Application Support/GDAL/1.11

***Note I used terminal to copy files and had to use sudo to copy files and folders into GDAL folder ie

    sudo cp /Hexagon/ERDASEcwJpeg2000SDK5.2.1/Desktop_Read-Only/lib/libstdc++/dynamic/libNCSEcw.dylib /Library/Application\ Support/GDAL/1.11/Libraries


    sudo cp -r /Hexagon/ERDASEcwJpeg2000SDK5.2.1/Desktop_Read-Only/etc /Library/Application\ Support/GDAL/1.11/

***Note you make have to create directory /Library/Application\ Support/GDAL/1.11/Libraries if it does not exist on your system already

  1. (Optional) Allow ECW lib to also read JP2 files by typing the following command in terminal :(ie override default Jasper lib) export GDAL_SKIP="JPEG2000"

  2. Restart computer

  3. Check if install worked by opening ECW file in QGIS


Important note: This question is quite old, and the answers are outdated.

If you install QGIS from KyngChaos, it includes ECW support out of the box.

You can download a .DMG from here: http://www.kyngchaos.com/software/qgis

Follow the prompts and install all the bits, and it just works on Mac OSX.

(Thanks, KyngChaos!)


using QGIS 2.18.2 on Mac OSX12.3 Sierra. Found I had to download an ECW support package for GDAL from Kyngchaos and follow his instructions in the Readme (including downloading the ECW package from Hexagon) to read ECWs. Cannot create readable ECW files as yet.

Process was similar to that described by Hagar E. above. Note that there may be a GDAL 2.1 installation if you have used previous versions of GDAL / QGIS. I applied the instructions in Kyngchaos' Readme to both the GDAL 1.11 and GDAL 2.1 folders.

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