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The GeoView addon was originally integrated into earlier Gramps versions than Gramps 3.3 then I created a new map renderer since some month now. go there : GeoViewHelp

The newer Geography renderer based on OsmGpsMap was integrated into Gramps 3.3, see the user manual for further information

Instructions for the older GeoView addon that was based on webkit/gtkmozembed

All we need to understand GeoView.

Why GeoView ?

I would like to see my ancestors all around the world on a map. And if possible, I would like to see them moving during time periods.

The future

For approximatively three years, geoview is based on html technology using webkit or gtkmozembed. We have some problems depending on the distribution, the webkit version, ... : crashes, messages on console, ...

The mecanism for rendering the map is asynchronous and difficult to manage : the renderer and gramps are two different things which don't easily communicate.

So, I am working on a new map renderer since some month now.

If you are impatient, go there : Geography

GeoView is divided in two parts :

This module is now in two parts in 3.2. I'll try to explain how to install them and how to use them. You have two new views named Geography (geoviev) and Web (htmlrenderer).

The html rendering engine

This module is called htmlrenderer. We use it when we use the Web view.

How to do this easily and with the minimum of software to install ?

The html kits

The Html rendering machine is used to show remote and local "urls" inside of GRAMPS. We need to be connected to the network. You probably also need a broadband connection to have a smooth result. Try eg Google maps in your browser to see if your internet connection is sufficiently fast.

GRAMPS can use two different kind of engines, webkit or gtkmozembed, to view HTML pages. If they are not installed, you'll never see Geography and the Web appearing among your views. If you are looking on how to install these, see below

If both two kits are installed, webkit will be used.


Be aware, WebKit is always in development.

More and more projects are integrating webkit ... Eg, epiphany states:

WebKit uses the libsoup library for the proxy.

Gecko ( GtkMozEmbed )

What will gtkmozembed be in the future ?

The embedding API of Gecko (GtkMozEmbed) has been unmaintained and stagnant for a long time.

GtkMozEmbed is proxy aware. I implemented this and I use the http_proxy environment variable. Authentication is allowed. The http_proxy format used is :


The proxies

Most people don't need a proxy. The majority of us are connected directly to internet. In this case, forget all this.

You need a proxy only if you installed one or if you depend on some internet providers.

You need to set the environment variable http_proxy or use your desktop proxy configuration.

How to get the HTML kits ?

It depends on the distribution you're working on ! They are listed in reverse order.

python-webkitgtk is also called pywebkitgtk in some distributions.

aptitude install python-webkit
aptitude install python-gnome2-extras
aptitude install python-gtkmozembed

You must use : WebKit-gtk

yum install WebKit-gtk pywebkitgtk

WebKit is the standard renderer on OSX, but WebKitGtk doesn't work with the installed WebKit framework. You must build WebKitGtk or obtain it via Fink or MacPorts. Gtk-OSX provides a patch for building WebKitGtk with quartz. Once WebKitGtk is built or installed, PyWebKitGtk installs and works well.


for 2009.0 and 2009.1: Use the package manager and install python-webkitgtk or :

urpmi python-webkitgtk

Seems not to work. Causes segmentation fault.

  • libwebkit-1_0

I didn't test GeoView on suse or opensuse. I need some feedback.

I found on example in :<VERSION>/<ARCH>/

Replace <VERSION> by the fedora version you use. ie : Factory, 10.3, 1.0, ...

Replace <ARCH> by i586, x86_64, ...

  • pywebkit

  • pyton-webkit

On OpenSUSE 11.3 that is the appropriate name.

aptitude install python-webkit

If you want gtkmozembed on ubuntu, you must install : python-gnome2-extras or python-gtkmozembed depending on you distrib version.

aptitude install python-gnome2-extras
aptitude install python-gtkmozembed
windows XP/Vista
  • WebKitGTK is the port of the portable web rendering engine WebKit to the GTK+ platform on Windows. This zip file contains webkitgtk itself and all needed dynamic link libraryes (DLL). You will need 7zip to extract its contents
This file is highly experimental and all functions may not work as expected!

Gramps AIO package contains WebKitGTK-1.2.5 and PyWebKitGTK-1.1.8


Your distributions are welcomed ...

The Geographic part

This module is called geoview. It depends on the htmlrenderer module.

In GRAMPS 3.1.x

If you really are in 3.1.2 and greater, you only have the geoview module. The htmlrenderer is included in geoview. For installing the html renderer, you can see the documentation above.

It is present as an experimental view you can activate. For GeoView to work you need to:

  1. change the GRAMPS configuration file to list the view in the list of views
  2. install the required backend so you can see webpages inside of GRAMPS.
  3. set the GeoView Preferences
  4. use the appropriate latidude and longitude format in your data (Note: the Addon:Place completion tool can look up latitude and longitude of the places defined in GRAMPS.)

The first is simple to achieve. Start a text editor and go to your gramps home directory, and open the keys.ini file. Scoll down to the interface section, and look for the data-views variable. On a clean install of GRAMPS, this variable is normally:


To add GeoView, just add it to the back, so your configuration reads:


That's it.

To install the backend, scroll down to the installation section.

Finally, you need to set the Geoview Preferences:


Openlayers is free too and uses by default OSM map. A lot of private or non free maps depends on OpenLayers.

The most interesting is the IGN ( Institut Géographique National Français )[1] which offers an old map of France ( about 1780 ) but this provider needs a key. I'll speak about keys later.

Then you have Googlemaps, Yahoo! maps, Microsoft maps, ...


You don't need to set the providers. The first one is always OpenStreetMap and the alternate is GoogleMaps.

Supported longitude/latitude formats

When you create/modify a place, the possible formats used for longitude/latitude are:

  • Floating point

e.g. +12.0154 -124.3647

  • Classic

e.g. 50°52'21.92"N 124°52'21.92"E

The degree symbol can be either UTF-8 code c2b00a, UTF-8 code c2ba0a or the hash (#) character. The seconds symbol can be either one double quote (") character or two single quote (') characters.

  • Colon

e.g. -50:52:21.92 124:52:21.92

  • Modified GEDCOM

e.g. 12.0154N 124.3647E

The maps providers

There are a lot of providers. Some are free.

By default, the provider GRAMPS uses is OSM ( OpenStreetMap ). As a free project, we find it our duty to first and foremost support another free initiative.

OpenStreetMap depends on the community and the maps are very light depending on the country. Nevertheless, the community made an extraordinary job and the quality is improving rapidly. And you can help make it better! We can say OpenStreetMap is and will be the map GRAMPS uses per default.


Like you can see, it's impossible to implement all providers maps. For this reason, some people created an api over all these providers api.

With only a few modification, you can use the map you want. And better! you can switch between the maps keeping the zoom and the centered position.

For performances issues, I can confirm it takes approximately 30 seconds to view 1000 markers for openstreetmap or google. If you have 2000 markers, this time is about 2 times 30 seconds.

For this, I limit one HTML page to 200 markers. If you have more than this limit, GRAMPS creates the necessary pages to see all your markers.

During testing with a places database for France ( > 35000 markers ), I set the limit to 20 markers which permit to create 1760 pages without problems. So we can say we have an unlimited number of markers. Only the file system space will limit us.

The provider Key

GRAMPS is not a web site. Keys are mostly only for web sites. In GeoView, I use a specific functionality : we are working on a local file instead of an url, so we normally don't need a key.

However, some providers like IGN need a key even in those cases. So we can't use them. Why ?

  1. To require a key would be too complex for the normal GRAMPS user
  2. We need a key from the provider

We hope it is understood that our choice of maps is limited even if mapstraction can do more.


We have no key, so we have a restricted access : About 10,000 to 15,000 requests by IP per day depending on the provider.

What is a request ? As I understand with the IGN ( OpenLayers ), a request is a tile ( an image ). You need several tiles for a view.

I think it is sufficient for the lambda genealogist.

Creating new places from the Geography view

You center the map for the place you want to create. You can use the double click for that. When you are sure the position is OK, click on the "+" button in the tools bar. Now, the place editor is opened. Enter all the field necessary for this new place then click on the OK button. That's all.

Associate a new position to an already existing place

You center the map for the place you want to modify like for creating a new place. When you are sure the position is OK, click on the "map" button in the tools near the "+" button described above. A places list is opened. Choose the place you want to modify then click on the OK button.

You can use this method to modify the position you used in a prior creation.


If you get a crash when starting gramps

It's probably a webkit problem. So, you have two possibilities :

Remove the webkit rendering engine only

Remove webkit and install gtkmozembed (gecko) is not already installed. See the specific package for your distribution. You'll have the gecko rendering.

Remove all rendering engines

Remove python-webkit and python-gtkmozembed. You'll never see geoview. See the specific packages for your distribution.

See also