PostGIS is a powerful extension to the PostgreSQL database that adds support for geometry types and geospatial functions such as point, line, polygon, distance, area, union, intersection, etc.

PostGIS can handle large amounts of data. It is at the core of CartoDB and plays nicely with QGIS, Tilemill / Mapbox Studio and GDAL.

In this tutorial, we will see how to install PostGIS on Mac OS X. We’ll use Homebrew to install the required packages, so make sure you have Homebrew installed on your system.

 

Install PosgreSQL

To install PostgreSQL open the terminal and run the following command:

 brew install postgres

You should see something like this:

homebrew-install-postgresql

By default the postgresql server will be installed under: /usr/local/var/postgres

 

Install PostGIS

Back in the terminal run:

brew install postgis

Once again, homebrew will inform us about the progress:

homebrew-install-postgis

 

 

Start Postgresql

To Start the server, we will use the command line utility pg_ctl. In the terminal, run:

pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres start

 

Let’s check if postgres is running:

export PGDATA='/usr/local/var/postgres'
pg_ctl status

You should see something similar to:

postgresql-running

 

Create Database

If that’s a fresh installation, we need to initialize the database cluster:

initdb /usr/local/var/postgres

postgresql-initdb

Now we can create a new database. Let’s call it postgis_test

createdb postgis_test

 

Enable PostGIS

We’ll use the psql command line utility to connect to the database that we’ve just created:

psql postgis_test

If everything goes well, we should see the psql command prompt:

psql-prompt

 

 

To enable PostGIS, execute the following command:

CREATE EXTENSION postgis;

If everything is OK, we should see:

psql-postgis-extension

 

Let’s check if we have PostGIS support:

SELECT PostGIS_Version();

 

 

To quit psql, type the following command:

\q

 

Useful Commands

By now, you should have a working postgresql server with PostGIS support enabled. Here are a few more commands that you can find useful:

 

Stop postgresql:

pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres stop -s -m fast

 

Start postgresql and use a log file

 pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres -l /usr/local/var/postgres/server.log start

 

Check if postgres is installed:

brew info postgres

 

To drop the database run:

dropdb postgis_test

 

Delete the PostgreSQL cluster:

rm -rf /usr/local/var/postgres/

 

From within psql, we can use the following command to list all tables in our database:

\dt

2 thoughts on “How to install PostGIS on Mac OS X

  1. Chema says:

    Hi!
    I am not able to create a new db. When i introduce the psql postgis_test command, ask me for a password. I’ve tried all of my passwords and still not working. ¿Any hint?

    Thanks!!

  2. PCa says:

    Thanks for clear and accurate instructions. After trying unsuccessfully to follow instructions in several other places, I came across your article and my installation then went smoothly.

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