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This page explains how to install version 5 of the Generic Mapping Tools for plotting geospatial data. There are several ways in which GMT 5 can be installed, and this is my preferred method because it is quick and easy.

Step-by-step guide

GMT 5 can be installed in two steps. Like most software installations, it is assumed that you have an administrator account on your Mac.

  1. Install the Homebrew package manager for Mac OS X by opening Terminal.app, pasting the text below into the window and pressing Enter. If you have previously installed Homebrew, you can skip this step.

    /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

    This will install Homebrew. You will be asked during the installation to change the file permissions in the /usr/local directories so that you are the owner of those directories. If you have multiple users that intend to modify files in /usr/local and its subdirectories, you may want to think about whether this is a good idea. For most users, this should cause no trouble.

  2. After the Homebrew installation has completed, you can install GMT by typing

    brew install homebrew/science/gmt

    Homebrew will now install GMT 5 and any missing dependencies. This should take a few minutes.

After you have completed the steps above, you can test that your GMT 5 installation is working properly by typing

gmt pscoast -R-90/-70/0/20 -JM6i -P -Ba -Gchocolate > GMT_example.ps
open GMT_example.ps

This should produce a simple map of Central America as a postscript (.ps) file (line 1 above) and then open that map (line 2 above) in Preview.app or the application you have designated as your default viewer for .ps files. If the installation works you should see a map like that below (click to enlarge).