Visual Servoing Platform  version 3.1.0
Tutorial: Installation from source for Raspberry Pi

In this tutorial you will learn how to install ViSP from source on Raspberry Pi 1 or Pi 2 equipped with an optional HD camera module.


In a first section we give some useful instructions to start with a Raspberry PI. Then in the second section, we focus on the installation of ViSP from source.

Concerning ViSP installation, we provide also other Tutorials.

Raspberry Pi installation

Setting up Raspberry Pi

  • There are a lot of documentation and tutorial that explain different ways to setup a Raspberry Pi. A good reference is the official page
  • We suggest to start with NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software). Bellow we resume the different steps that are fully described in
    • Format you SD card (at least 4Go are requested) on your computer. To this end you can use "GParted partition editor" under Ubuntu.
    • Download Noobs "Offline and network install" zip file from
    • Unzip all the files on the SD card.
    • Insert your SD Card into your Raspberry Pi.
    • Plug in your keyboard, mouse, monitor and Ethernet cables.
    • Now plug in the USB power cable to your Pi.
    • Your Raspberry Pi will boot, and a window will appear with a list of different operating systems that you can install. Select the "recommended Raspbian" checkbox and click on "Install" button.
    • When the install process has completed, the Raspberry Pi configuration menu (raspi-config) will load. Here you are able to set the time and date for your region and enable a Raspberry Pi camera board, or even create users. You can exit this menu by using Tab on your keyboard to move to Finish.

Logging in

  • The default login for Raspbian is username pi with the password raspberry.

Update your Raspbian distribution

  • If your Raspberry Pi is connected to Ethernet you can update your Raspbian distribution:
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get upgrade

Setting up a Raspberry Pi camera

  • If you have a Raspberry Pi camera module see To resume, enable the camera using:
    $ sudo raspi-config
  • Enter in menu "5/ Interfacing Options" to enable the camera.
  • Do a rebooot
    $ sudo reboot
  • Connect again and load the camera module:
    $ sudo modprobe bcm2835-v4l2
  • This will add the following modules:
    $ lsmod
    Module Size Used by
    bcm2835_v4l2 37611 0
    videobuf2_core 30853 1 bcm2835_v4l2
    v4l2_common 7792 1 bcm2835_v4l2
    videodev 121362 3 bcm2835_v4l2,v4l2_common,videobuf2_core
  • To check if the camera is recognized and connected, run:
    $ v4l2-ctl --list-formats
  • After each Raspberry Pi reboot you need to relaunch the previous modprobe command. To load bcm2835-v4l2 module during reboot, you can edit /etc/modules file
    $ sudo nano /etc/modules
    and add a line with the name of the module:

Start graphical user interface

  • To load the graphical user interface, type startx and press Enter on your keyboard. This will later allow to use ViSP vpDisplayX or vpDisplayOpenCV classes useful to display images in a X11 window.

ViSP installation

Install prerequisities

  • First you need to install the following packagages (g++, CMake, Git) that are requested to get and build ViSP:
    $ sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake-curses-gui git

Install recommended 3rd parties

ViSP is interfaced with several optional 3rd party libraries. The complete list is provided here. We recommend to install the following:

  • OpenCV
    $ sudo apt-get install libopencv-dev
  • libX11 to be able to open a window to display images
    $ sudo apt-get install libx11-dev
  • lapack and eigen to benefit from optimized mathematical capabilities
    $ sudo apt-get install liblapack-dev libeigen3-dev
  • libv4l to grab images from usb or analogic cameras
    $ sudo apt-get install libv4l-dev
  • libxml2 to be able to configure the model-based trackers from xml files
    $ sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev
  • QR code detection
    $ sudo apt-get install libzbar-dev
  • pthread library
    $ sudo apt-get install libpthread-stubs0-dev

Other optional 3rd parties

We give also the way to install other 3rd party libraries to enable specific capabilities.

  • libjpeg and libpng to support jpeg and png images respectively (only useful if OpenCV is not installed)
    $ sudo apt-get install libjpeg-dev libpng12-dev

Create a workspace

  • First create a workspace in $HOME/visp-ws that will contain ViSP source, build and dataset.
    $ export VISP_WS=$HOME/visp-ws
    $ mkdir -p $VISP_WS

Get ViSP source code

There are different ways to get ViSP source code on Raspberry Pi:

  • You can download the latest release as a zip or a tarball. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using either
    $ tar xvzf visp-x.y.z.tar.gz -C $VISP_WS
    $ unzip -d $VISP_WS
  • You can also download a daily snapshot. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using
    $ tar xvzf visp-snapshot-yyyy-mm-dd.tar.gz -C $VISP_WS
  • Or you get the cutting-edge ViSP from GitHub repository using the following command
    $ cd $VISP_WS
    $ git clone

We suppose now that ViSP source is in the directory $VISP_WS/visp. The following should be adapted if you downloaded ViSP from a zip or tarball. In that case, the source is rather in something like $VISP_WS/visp-x.y.z.

Configure ViSP from source

  • In the worspace, create first a directory named visp-build that will contain all the build material; generated Makefiles, object files, output libraries and binaries.
    $ mkdir $VISP_WS/visp-build
  • Enter the visp-build folder and configure the build:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ cmake ../visp
    A more versatile way to configure the build is to use ccmake, the CMake GUI:
    $ ccmake ../visp
    The following image shows that this command allows to configure (just by pressing [c] key) the build in a more advanced way where some options could be easily turned ON/OFF. It allows also to see which are the 3rd parties that will be used. To generate the makefiles, just press [g] key in the ccmake gui.
    Snapshot of the ccmake ../visp command used to configure ViSP.

Build ViSP libraries

  • To build ViSP libraries proceed with:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4
Installing ViSP is optional, since ViSP could be used as a 3rd party without installation. To proceed with the installation run:
$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ sudo make install
The default install location is set to /usr/local. This location could be changed modifying CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX var:
$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ cmake ../visp -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr
$ sudo make install

Build ViSP documentation

  • To build ViSP documentation, you have first to install Doxygen package:
    $ sudo apt-get install doxygen graphviz texlive-latex-base
    Then you can proceed with:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ cmake ../visp
    $ make -j4 visp_doc
    The generated documentation is then available in $VISP_WS/visp-build/doc/html/index.html
  • It is also possible to generate a more complete documentation that includes also all the internal classes. This could be achieved setting CMake var ENABLE_FULL_DOC to ON like:
    $ cmake ../visp -DENABLE_FULL_DOC=ON
    $ make -j4 visp_doc

Install ViSP dataset

  • Some ViSP examples and tests require data (images, video, models) that are not part of ViSP source code but available in a separate archive named This archive could be downloaded from page. We provide here after the way to install these data if you want to run ViSP examples.
    $ unzip -d $VISP_WS
  • We suppose now that the data are located in $VISP_WS/ViSP-images-3.1.0.
    $ ls $VISP_WS/ViSP-images-3.1.0
    AprilTag circle ellipse iv LICENSE.txt mbt mire-2 video
    calibration cube ellipse-1 Klimt line mire
  • Set VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH environment variable to help ViSP examples and tests to find the location of the data set. It is more convenient if this environment variables is automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched:
    $ echo "export VISP_WS=$HOME/visp-ws" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ echo "export VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH=$VISP_WS/ViSP-images-3.1.0" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ source ~/.bashrc
  • From now, you can try to run ViSP examples and tests. For example you can run displayX example that should open a windows with Klimt painting image and some overlay drawings:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ ./example/device/display/displayX
    A click to close the windows...
    A click to display a cross...
    Cross position: 201, 441
    A click to exit the program...

Tips and tricks

How to uninstall ViSP

  • After ViSP installation, you can remove installed material using:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ sudo make uninstall

How to build only ViSP libraries

  • If you want to build only ViSP modules libraries, nor the examples, tutorials and tests:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4 visp_modules

How to build a ViSP specific module

  • If you want to build a given module and all the dependencies:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4 visp_<module_name>
    For example to build the model-based tracker module named mbt, run:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4 visp_mbt

Which are the targets that could be run with make ?

  • To know which are the target available with make:
    $ make help | grep visp
    ... visp_tests
    ... visp_modules
    ... visp_examples
    ... visp_demos
    ... visp_tutorials
    ... visp_clipper
    ... visp_apriltag
    ... visp_core
    ... visp_gui
    ... visp_io
    ... visp_klt
    ... visp_me
    ... visp_sensor
    ... visp_ar
    ... visp_blob
    ... visp_robot
    ... visp_visual_features
    ... visp_vs
    ... visp_vision
    ... visp_detection
    ... visp_mbt
    ... visp_tt
    ... visp_tt_mi

Which are the 3rd party libraries that are used in ViSP ?

  • To see which are the optional 3rd parties that are found during the configuration stage and that will be used by ViSP during the build you can have a look to the text file named ViSP-third-party.txt and located in $VISP_WS/visp-build. We provide hereafter an example of a possible content of this file that contains also build info.
    $ cat $VISP_WS/visp-build/ViSP-third-party.txt
    General configuration information for ViSP 3.1.0
    Version control: 3.0.1-350-gabcba81
    Timestamp: 2017-09-27T19:27:53Z
    Host: Linux 4.1.19-v7+ armv7l
    CMake: 3.0.2
    CMake generator: Unix Makefiles
    CMake build tool: /usr/bin/make
    Configuration: Release
    Built as dynamic libs?: yes
    C++ Compiler: /usr/bin/c++ (ver 4.9.2)
    C++ flags (Release): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -fvisibility=hidden -fPIC -O3 -DNDEBUG
    C++ flags (Debug): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -fvisibility=hidden -fPIC -g
    C Compiler: /usr/bin/cc
    C flags (Release): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -fvisibility=hidden -fPIC -O3 -DNDEBUG
    C flags (Debug): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -fvisibility=hidden -fPIC -g
    Linker flags (Release):
    Linker flags (Debug):
    ViSP modules:
    To be built: core gui io klt me sensor ar blob robot visual_features vs vision detection mbt tt tt_mi
    Disabled: -
    Disabled by dependency: -
    Unavailable: -
    Build options:
    Build deprecated: yes
    Build with moment combine: no
    Use Lapack/blas: yes (ver 3.7.0)
    Use Lapack (built-in): no
    Use Eigen3: yes (ver 3.2.2)
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver
    Use GSL: yes (ver 1.16)
    Ogre simulator:
    \- Use Ogre3D: no
    \- Use OIS: no
    Coin simulator:
    \- Use Coin3D: no
    \- Use SoWin: no
    \- Use SoXt: no
    \- Use SoQt: no
    \- Use Qt4: no
    \- Use Qt3: no
    Media I/O:
    Use JPEG: yes (ver 62)
    Use PNG: yes (ver 1.2.50)
    \- Use ZLIB: yes (ver 1.2.8)
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver
    Real robots:
    Use Afma4: no
    Use Afma6: no
    Use Viper650: no
    Use Viper850: no
    Use aria (Pioneer): yes
    Use PTU46: no
    Use Biclops PT: no
    Use X11: yes
    Use GTK: no
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver
    Use GDI: no
    Use Direct3D: no
    Use DC1394-2.x: yes (ver 2.2.3)
    Use CMU 1394: no
    Use V4L2: yes (ver 1.6.0)
    Use directshow: no
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver
    Use Flycapture: no
    Use Pylon: no
    RGB-D sensors:
    Use Realsense: no
    \- Use PCL: no
    \- Use VTK: no
    Use Kinect: no
    \- Use libfreenect: no
    \- Use libusb-1: no
    \- Use pthread: yes
    F/T sensors:
    Use atidaq (built-in): no
    Use comedi: no
    Use zbar: yes (ver 0.10)
    Use dmtx: no
    Use AprilTag (built-in): yes (ver 0.9.8)
    Use Clipper (built-in): yes (ver 6.4.2)
    Use XML2: yes (ver 2.9.1)
    Use OpenMP: yes
    Use pthread: yes
    Use pthread (built-in): no
    Use cxx11: no
    Use doxygen: no
    Tests and samples:
    Tests: yes
    Demos: yes
    Examples: yes
    Tutorials: yes
    Install path: /usr/local

Next tutorial

You are now ready to see the next Tutorial: How to create and build a CMake project that uses ViSP on Unix or Windows that will show you how to use ViSP as a 3rd party to build your own project on Raspberry Pi or on any other system. Then if you have a Raspberry Pi camera module, you can also follow the Tutorial: Blob tracking especially subsection Tracking form v4l2 live cameras.

You may also be interested in Tutorial: Cross-compilation for Raspberry Pi from Ubuntu host if you want to speed up the build process or deploy ViSP on other Rapberry boards.