I cannot install rgdal on MacBook with Catalina. I installed r using Brew and r is up to date.

I have the gdal framework installed. I've tried to install rgdal from source, but I keep getting an error that I don't know how to fix:

> install.packages('rgdal', type="source")
Installing package into ‘/Users/jobentley/Library/R/4.0/library’
(as ‘lib’ is unspecified)
trying URL 'https://cran.rstudio.com/src/contrib/rgdal_1.5-8.tar.gz'
Content type 'application/x-gzip' length 2299235 bytes (2.2 MB)
downloaded 2.2 MB


* installing *source* package ‘rgdal’ ...
** package ‘rgdal’ successfully unpacked and MD5 sums checked
** using staged installation
configure: R_HOME: /usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R
configure: CC: clang
configure: CXX: clang++
configure: C++11 support available
configure: rgdal: 1.5-8
checking for /usr/bin/svnversion... yes
configure: svn revision: 990
checking for gdal-config... /usr/local/bin/gdal-config
checking gdal-config usability... yes
configure: GDAL: 2.4.4
checking C++11 support for GDAL >= 2.3.0... yes
checking GDAL version >= 1.11.4... yes
checking GDAL version <= 2.5 or >= 3.0... yes
checking gdal: linking with --libs only... yes
checking GDAL: gdal-config data directory readable... yes
checking GDAL: /usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/share/gdal/stateplane.csv readable... yes
./configure: line 2458: pkg-config: command not found
configure: pkg-config proj not available
  set PKG_CONFIG_PATH to the directory containing proj.pc
configure: PROJ version not determined using pkg-config proj
configure: proj CPP flags:  -I/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/include
configure: PROJ LIBS:  -lproj
checking PROJ header API:... proj.h
./configure: line 2578: test: =: unary operator expected
checking Using GDAL < 3 with PROJ >= 6... ./configure: line 3892: test: too many arguments
checking PROJ version >= 4.8.0... ./configure: line 3908: test: -lt: unary operator expected
./configure: line 3917: test: -lt: unary operator expected
./configure: line 3979: test: =: unary operator expected
checking PROJ: proj.db found and readable... yes
./configure: line 4119: test: =: unary operator expected
./configure: line 4196: test: =: unary operator expected
./configure: line 4261: test: : integer expression expected
./configure: line 4402: test: =: unary operator expected
./configure: line 4425: test: =: unary operator expected
./configure: line 4429: test: : integer expression expected
configure: Package CPP flags:  -I/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/include
configure: Package LIBS:  -L/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/lib -lgdal -lproj
configure: creating ./config.status
config.status: creating src/Makevars
** libs
clang++ -std=gnu++11 -I"/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/include" -DNDEBUG -I/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/include -I'/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/library/sp/include' -I/usr/local/opt/gettext/include -I/usr/local/opt/readline/include -I/usr/local/include   -fPIC  -g -O2  -c OGR_write.cpp -o OGR_write.o
clang++ -std=gnu++11 -I"/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/include" -DNDEBUG -I/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/include -I'/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/library/sp/include' -I/usr/local/opt/gettext/include -I/usr/local/opt/readline/include -I/usr/local/include   -fPIC  -g -O2  -c gdal-bindings.cpp -o gdal-bindings.o
clang -I"/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/include" -DNDEBUG -I/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/include -I'/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/library/sp/include' -I/usr/local/opt/gettext/include -I/usr/local/opt/readline/include -I/usr/local/include   -fPIC  -g -O2  -c init.c -o init.o
clang -I"/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/include" -DNDEBUG -I/usr/local/Cellar/gdal/2.4.4_7/include -I'/usr/local/Cellar/r/4.0.0_1/lib/R/library/sp/include' -I/usr/local/opt/gettext/include -I/usr/local/opt/readline/include -I/usr/local/include   -fPIC  -g -O2  -c inverser.c -o inverser.o

inverser.c:5:10: fatal error: 'projects.h' file not found
#include <projects.h>

1 error generated.
make: *** [inverser.o] Error 1
ERROR: compilation failed for package ‘rgdal’
* removing ‘/Users/jobentley/Library/R/4.0/library/rgdal’
Warning in install.packages :
  installation of package ‘rgdal’ had non-zero exit status

The downloaded source packages are in


Any ideas on what to do?

  • I've added the "R" tag which might get you some more attention!
    – Spacedman
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 7:18

1 Answer 1


I had the same problem, and here's how I fixed it. (ubuntu 18.04 with R version 3.6.3 (2020-02-29) -- "Holding the Windsock". I have GDAL 3.0.4, released 2020/01/28, installed on the system.)

The issue seems to be with version rgdal_1.5-8. A bug in this version perhaps. I just installed 1.4-8 instead.

install_version("rgdal", version = "1.4-8", repos = "http://cran.us.r-project.org")
  • This worked! Thank you so much! Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 16:56

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