Setup Environment

The development environment is easy as your original Node.js projects. Let’s move on.


Node.js v8.0+ is the required runtime to install. It is the basis to support to develop/run your mapping software we are going to build. Recommend to install the latest LTS to better stability purpose. Visit the official website for detail.

Ginkgoch Map Library

The Ginkgoch Map Library is hosted in npmjs names ginkgoch-map. Install with the command below.

yarn add ginkgoch-map

Yarn (Optional)

This is only my personal favorite. Even though, Node.js has its build-in package management tool (NPM), but using yarn will be faster, securer and more reliable. Our later demos are all working with yarn. If you don’t like it, npm is also good enough. Refer this guide for detail.

Visual Studio Code (Optional)

A good IDE will perfectly make your development easy. For a light weight development, I will use visual studio code for the later demos.

This is almost everything for setup. But for the multiple platforms, we have slightly more components to install.

Desktop App Specific

To build a desktop mapping software, we need another framework for creating native applications with web technologies using JavaScript. Electron, NW.js, Carlo are recently popular frameworks to do such things. In our later demos, we will use Electron to introduce how to build a mapping software for desktop.

Web Service and Web App Specific

Ginkgoch Map Library is not a client UI component, so a mature mapping UI component is required. We could chose Leaflet or OpenLayers or other map UI component for browser. We will use Leaflet for later demos.

Web service and web app is a little different from desktop app development. The key is that, Node.js is lack of graphics API support. Thus we need to install another 3rd party graphic module for rendering graphics on the server side. canvas is my chosen one in current version. Refer to the official document to install on a specific operation system.

yarn add canvas

Here is a quick reference for the dependencies.

OS Command
macOS brew install pkg-config cairo libpng jpeg giflib
Ubuntu sudo apt-get install libcairo2-dev libjpeg-dev libpango1.0-dev libgif-dev build-essential g++
Fedora sudo yum install cairo cairo-devel cairomm-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel pango pango-devel pangomm pangomm-devel giflib-devel
Solaris pkgin install cairo pkg-config xproto renderproto kbproto xextproto
Windows refer the wiki for instruction

Why Desktop App doesn’t Require canvas module? Good question! Desktop is running on electron, which combines the Chromium’s rendering library with Node.js. We don’t need another graphic module to rendering anymore.

Command Line Tool Specific

For normal mapping related command line tool, Ginkgoch Map Library is enough to build functionalities for reading/querying features and doing spatial analysis. For special requirement that requires rendering, a 3rd party graphic module like canvas is also required.

This is pretty much everything for setup. Until next time.