I just did a fresh install of Anaconda3 and am trying to add GDAL/OGR. I've tried installing with both conda install gdal and conda install -c conda-forge gdal. In both cases, the install completes successfully, but when I import gdal, it raises the error:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "C:\Users\Jhook\AppData\Local\Continuum\miniconda3\lib\site-packages\gdal.py", line 2, in <module>
    from osgeo.gdal import deprecation_warn
  File "C:\Users\Jhook\AppData\Local\Continuum\miniconda3\lib\site-packages\osgeo\__init__.py", line 21, in <module>
    _gdal = swig_import_helper()
  File "C:\Users\Jhook\AppData\Local\Continuum\miniconda3\lib\site-packages\osgeo\__init__.py", line 17, in swig_import_helper
    _mod = imp.load_module('_gdal', fp, pathname, description)
  File "C:\Users\Jhook\AppData\Local\Continuum\miniconda3\lib\imp.py", line 243, in load_module
    return load_dynamic(name, filename, file)
  File "C:\Users\Jhook\AppData\Local\Continuum\miniconda3\lib\imp.py", line 343, in load_dynamic
    return _load(spec)
ImportError: DLL load failed: The specified module could not be found.

I've found several workarounds out there, but most date back a few years and don't reflect more recent updates or changes. Is there a fix for this problem that works in 2018?

  • What OS are you running this on? How did you call import gdal, via a terminal or an IDE?
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 15:16
  • Running on Windows 10. Result is the same for import gdal from a terminal and from PyCharm.
    – triphook
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 15:19
  • 1
    Try ‘from osgeo import gdal’
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 16:58
  • 1
    from osgeo import gdal results in the same message
    – triphook
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 17:28
  • Can you please confirm you are running Python 3?
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 18:06

4 Answers 4


There seems to be an incompatibility between the latest version of conda and vs2015_runtime and conda-forge gdal.

If I create a conda-forge env and specify vs2015_runtime=14, everything works:

conda create -n testgdal -c conda-forge gdal vs2015_runtime=14 

activate testgdal 

(testgdal) python 

Python 3.6.6 | packaged by conda-forge | (default, Jul 26 2018, 11:48:23) [MSC v.1900 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32 
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.  

>>> from osgeo import gdal


  • Thanks for this. Was going crazy for a while. Shouldn't this get done automatically by anaconda?
    – user32882
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 9:41
  • It should, but conda-forge is not Anaconda. It's a separate community led channel and occasionally things get out of sync
    – user2856
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 9:44

I've spent the day with that issue, and for me what worked was to install from wheels, as detailed on that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ybddFC80fU

It is pretty simple. The only thing I had to change was to also install Fiona from wheel first, otherwise I had an error saying "a GDAL API version must be specified...[]"

  • Could you write what the steps are from that video? I think it would make your answer more helpful and more accessible.
    – jvriesem
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 17:31

The following works reliably for me Ubuntu 20.04:

conda update conda    
sudo apt-get install libgdal-dev gdal-bin

export CPLUS_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/gdal
export C_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/gdal

# check gdal version with 
gdal-config --version

echo '
name: raster-pipeline
- defaults
- python=3.7.*
- cython
- numpy
- ipython
- libspatialindex
- pip
- pip:
  - numpy>=1.18.5
  - pyproj>=2.6.1.post1
  - rasterio>=1.1.5
' > raster_pipeline.yml
conda env create -f raster_pipeline.yml -v 
conda activate raster_pipeline 
python -c "from osgeo import gdal"
conda deactivate 

Like everyone said there seems to be an incompatibility issue. Creating a new environment solved the problem. This worked for me

Go to anaconda navigator --> environments --> Create --> GDAL Go to anaconda prompt --> activate GDAL --> conda install gdal

Hope this will do. But you have to install other libraries again in this new environment.

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