22 March 2011

These are my quick notes for installing Oracle Instant Client on a Linux box (currently I have tested this on a Ubuntu 10.10 64 bit box and with Oracle 11.2 and GDAL 1.8.0), and then configuring GDAL for using Oracle (OCI and GeoRaster drivers support).

Finally I will show how to configure GeoDjango to use an Oracle spatial database by using the Cx_Oracle Python library.

Installation of Oracle Instant Client

First download Oracle Client files from here or here if you are on a 64 bit architecture.

You need to download the following 3 zip archives:

~/software/oracle$ ls
instantclient-basic-linux-x86-64-  instantclient-sdk-linux-x86-64-  instantclient-sqlplus-linux-x86-64-

Then extract the archives to a location you prefer:

~/software/oracle$ unzip instantclient-basic-linux-x86-64-
~/software/oracle$ unzip instantclient-sqlplus-linux-x86-64-
~/software/oracle$ unzip instantclient-sdk-linux-x86-64-

You then need to set the following environment variables, for example editing the .bashrc file in your home directory:

nano ~/.bashrc

# Oracle (OCI)
export ORACLE_HOME=/home/pcorti/software/oracle/instantclient_11_2

Finally create the following soft links:

~/software/oracle$ cd $ORACLE_HOME
~/software/oracle/instantclient_11_2$ ln -s libclntsh.so.11.1 libclntsh.so

You should be able now to connect to an Oracle database with the SQL*Plus Instant Client:

sqlplus hr/your_password@//mymachine.mydomain:port/MYDB

Installation of GDAL with OCI and GeoRaster support

For compiling GDAL with OCI and GeoRaster support, you first need to add this soft link:

~/software/oracle/instantclient_11_2$ ln -s . lib

Now download, extract, configure and compile GDAL, for example:

./configure --with-oci-include=/home/pcorti/software/oracle/instantclient_11_2/sdk/include --with-oci-lib=/home/pcorti/software/oracle/instantclient_11_2 --with-python --with-pg
sudo make install

when configuring make sure OCI and GEORASTER are enabled:

OCI support:               yes
GEORASTER support:         yes

After installing make sure you have OCI and GeoRaster as supported formats:

:~/training/gdal/oracle$ ogr2ogr --formats
Supported Formats:
  -> "ESRI Shapefile" (read/write)
  -> "OCI" (read/write)

~/training/gdal/oracle$ gdalinfo --formats
Supported Formats:
  VRT (rw+v): Virtual Raster
  GTiff (rw+v): GeoTIFF
  GeoRaster (rw+): Oracle Spatial GeoRaster

Testing GDAL and Oracle

Finally some GDAL tests with Oracle. We will use a connection string composed in this way:


Sample 1: export from an Oracle table to a shapefile:

$ ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" test.shp OCI:user/password@server:port/schema:MY_TABLE

Sample 2: import in a Oracle table from a shapefile

$ ogr2ogr -f OCI OCI:user/password@server:port/schema:MY_TABLE2 test.shp

Sample 3: how to get information about an Oracle table:

$ ~/training/gdal/oracle$ ogrinfo -al -fid 1 OCI:user/password@server:port/schema:MY_TABLE
INFO: Open of `OCI:user/password@server:port/schema:MY_TABLE'
      using driver `OCI' successful.

Layer name: MY_TABLE
Geometry: Unknown (any)
Feature Count: 688
Extent: (-17.116400, 1.040350) - (38.761000, 65.833230)
Layer SRS WKT:
    DATUM["World Geodetic System 1984 (EPSG ID 6326)",
        SPHEROID["WGS 84 (EPSG ID 7030)",6378137.0,298.257223563]],
    UNIT["Decimal Degree",0.0174532925199433],
    AUTHORITY["EPSG. See 3D CRS for original information source.","4326"]]
Geometry Column = GEOMETRY
ID: Integer (11.0)
PLACE: String (765.0)
  POINT (23.7332 35.3379 0)

Sample 4: how to create a GeoRaster from a raster

$ gdal_translate -of georaster input.tif georaster:user/pwd@host:1521/db,out_img,raster
Input file size is 3212, 2148
0...10...20...30...40...50...60...70...80...90...100 - done.
Ouput dataset: (geor:user/pwd@host:1521/db,RDT_72$,72) on RDAPRD.OUT_IMG,RASTER

$ gdalinfo georaster:user/pwd@host:1521/db
Driver: GeoRaster/Oracle Spatial GeoRaster
Files: none associated
Size is 512, 512
Coordinate System is `'
Corner Coordinates:
Upper Left  (    0.0,    0.0)
Lower Left  (    0.0,  512.0)
Upper Right (  512.0,    0.0)
Lower Right (  512.0,  512.0)
Center      (  256.0,  256.0)

Configuring GeoDjango for using an Oracle Spatial backend

Finally, these are my quick notes for using GeoDjango with an Oracle spatial backend.

First you need to install cx_Oracle, a Python db API for Oracle. The version that is working well for me is cx_Oracle 5.0.1 (current version, 5.1 is throwing an error from Oracle, so I had to downgrade).

For installing cx_Oracle, if, like me, you are in a virtualenv, then just type:

pip install http://sourceforge.net/projects/cx-oracle/files/5.0.1/cx_Oracle-5.0.1.tar.gz/download

Or, download the source code from the same location and as a sudo run the setup.py file:

sudo python setup.py install

Finally, in the settings.py file of your GeoDjango application, don’t forget to update the database settings:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.contrib.gis.db.backends.oracle',
        'NAME': 'database',
        'USER': 'user',
        'PASSWORD': 'password',
        'HOST': 'host',
        'PORT': '1521',


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