I've installed GDAL2.3dev on my mac using Homebrew, expecting it to support GeoPDFs already. But when I run gdalinfo on a pdf file from USGS, I still get this error:

ERROR 4: `WA_Sunrise_244132_1971_24000_geo.pdf' not recognized as a supported file format.

What do I need to do add PDF support to GDAL?

  • you need the libraries Poppler,PoDoFo PDFium gdal.org/frmt_pdf.html
    – Mapperz
    Oct 24, 2017 at 20:58
  • On Windows an interpreter like GhostScript ghostscript.com is required to rasterize the pdf into an image.. I'm not sure about Macs. There is instructions static1.squarespace.com/static/56f6ee5f8a65e2431330aac8/t/… that might illuminate. First check your formats with gdalinfo --formats and see if your build supports PDF. Oct 24, 2017 at 20:59
  • You can't add support afterwards but GDAL must be compiled with some of the abovementioned libraries. Check with "gdalinfo --formats" if your build is really made without PDF driver.
    – user30184
    Oct 25, 2017 at 5:34
  • @Mapperz I have Poppler installed but I don't know how to build a package from scratch, which is why I've been using Homebrew. I can see that others have had the same problem and were able to fix it by ./configure the Poppler path before ./make the build but I don't know how to incorporate that into Homebrew builds.
    – Zen Liu
    Oct 27, 2017 at 7:07
  • homebrew poppler install macappstore.org/poppler
    – Mapperz
    Oct 27, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


It seems that osgeo4mac has shifted to a new strategy for PDF support. You now need to install gdal2-pdf:

$ brew install gdal2-pdf

and then, as brew tells you to, link to the plugins:

$ export GDAL_DRIVER_PATH=/usr/local/lib/gdalplugins


  • Thanks Peter - I tried that but I'm still getting the same problem. Perhaps I need to uninstall the previous gdal installation?
    – Zen Liu
    Oct 26, 2017 at 5:54
  • I still get the same error even when I explicitly invoke the new instance of gdalinfo that came with this new install: /usr/local/Cellar/gdal2/2.2.2_1/bin/gdalinfo WA_Sunrise_244132_1971_24000_geo.pdf
    – Zen Liu
    Oct 27, 2017 at 7:09
  • This worked after I uninstalled all my gdal installations and just ran brew install gdal2-pdf, hooray!
    – Zen Liu
    Oct 30, 2017 at 21:26
  • @ZenLiu glad to hear it! You can use brew link to choose which gdal you call when in the shell. Not sure if you tried that first.
    – PeterT
    Oct 30, 2017 at 23:19

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