24. Building and releasing ASP

This chapter will describe how ASP can be built without and with using conda, how to build the documentation, and how to prepare a new ASP release. This is focused towards the developer. Users should read instead the installation guide in Section 2.

24.1. Building ASP without conda

This entails downloading all the ASP dependencies with conda first as pre-compiled binaries, then pulling the VisionWorkbench and Stereo Pipeline source code from GitHub, and building locally. This is suggested only for the very adventurous user.

The environments having the ASP dependencies are in the conda directory of the Stereo Pipeline repository, as above. After downloading those, one can run on Linux:

conda env create -n asp_deps -f asp_deps_3.3.0_linux_env.yaml

or on the Mac:

conda env create -n asp_deps -f asp_deps_3.3.0_osx_env.yaml

This will create an asp_deps environment. Activate it with:

conda activate asp_deps

Some of the .la files created by conda point to other .la files that are not available. For that reason, those files should be edited to replace:



-L/path/to -lmylibrary

This can be done as:

cd ~/miniconda3/envs/asp_deps/lib
mkdir -p backup
cp -fv  *.la backup # back these up
perl -pi -e "s#(/[^\s]*?lib)/lib([^\s]+).la#-L\$1 -l\$2#g" *.la

The conda-provided compilers should be installed in the environment, if not present already.

conda install -c conda-forge compilers

Ensure that cmake>=3.15.5 and pbzip2 are installed:

conda install -c conda-forge "cmake>=3.15.5" pbzip2

For Linux only, install the chrpath tool.

Set the compiler names. They may differ somewhat from what is in the block below, so this step may need some adjustments.

isMac=$(uname -s | grep Darwin)
if [ "$isMac" != "" ]; then

Set up a work directory:

mkdir -p $buildDir

Build VisionWorkbench and Stereo Pipeline:

cd $buildDir
$envPath/bin/git clone                            \
cd visionworkbench
# Uncomment below if desired to build a specific version
# git checkout 3.3.0
mkdir -p build
cd build
$envPath/bin/cmake ..                             \
  -DASP_DEPS_DIR=$envPath                         \
  -DCMAKE_VERBOSE_MAKEFILE=ON                     \
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$buildDir/install        \
  -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=${envPath}/bin/$cc_comp      \
make -j10 && make install

cd $buildDir
$envPath/bin/git clone                            \
cd StereoPipeline
# Uncomment below if desired to build a specific version
# git checkout 3.3.0
mkdir -p build
cd build
$envPath/bin/cmake ..                             \
  -DASP_DEPS_DIR=$envPath                         \
  -DCMAKE_VERBOSE_MAKEFILE=ON                     \
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$buildDir/install        \
  -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=${envPath}/bin/$cc_comp      \
make -j10 && make install

24.2. Building ASP and its dependencies with conda

This page is meant for advanced users of ASP and maintainers who would like to use conda to rebuild ASP and all its dependencies. It is suggested to carefully read Section 2.3 before this page.

To simplify maintenance, ASP and its dependencies are built upon ISIS and its dependencies. Hence, in order to create a new conda ASP package, first one needs to create an environment having the latest released ISIS, then rebuild ASP’s other dependencies and ASP itself, while ensuring that the dependencies of each of these have their versions synced up with the ISIS dependency versions.

The rebuilt packages will be uploaded to the nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline anaconda channel.

24.2.1. Setting up the ISIS environment

Search for the latest available ISIS conda package:

conda search -c usgs-astrogeology --override-channels isis

Here it was found that ISIS version 8.0.0 was the latest, which we will assume throughout the rest of this document. This needs to be adjusted for your circumstances.

Create a conda environment for this version of ISIS:

conda create -n isis8.0.0
conda activate isis8.0.0

Add these channels to conda:

conda config --env --add channels conda-forge
conda config --env --add channels usgs-astrogeology


conda config --show channels

and verify that usgs-astrogeology and conda-forge are in this order and above all other channels, except perhaps the nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline channel.

Install the desired version of ISIS:

conda install isis==8.0.0

Search and install the latest version of the usgscsm package, for example, as:

conda search -c conda-forge --override-channels usgscsm
conda install -c conda-forge usgscsm==1.7.0

If that package is too old, consider rebuilding it, following the recipe at:

See Section 24.2.3 for how to fetch and build this.

Save the current environment as follows:

conda env export > isis8.0.0.yaml

24.2.2. Fetching the build tools

We will create a new tools environment to have all the tools we will need. These could be appended to the earlier environment, but it is less likely to to have issues with dependency conflicts if these are kept separate.

conda create -n tools
conda activate tools
conda install -c conda-forge anaconda-client conda-build \

24.2.3. Packages to build

Many additional package need to be built, using conda build. These packages can be downloaded with git clone from:

On OSX, also fetch and build:

This is needed as a workaround for the tbb conda package on OSX conflicting with the embree package which is rather old but is needed by ISIS.

Also, per the earlier note, consider rebuilding usgscsm if there there are updates in its GitHub repository which are not yet released on conda-forge.

24.2.4. Synchronize the versions with the existing environment

For each of the above feedstocks, check the recipe/meta.yaml file and ensure all dependencies are in sync with what is in the file isis8.0.0.yaml generated earlier. This can be done automatically with a provided script in the ASP repository:

python StereoPipeline/conda/update_versions.py isis8.0.0.yaml \

and the same for the other packages.

It is very important to note that this script is not fool-proof, and the changes it makes should be very carefully examined. Also, the versions of dependencies can be different on Linux and OSX, so the script should be run separately for each platform.

Having incompatible versions will result in failure when resolving the dependencies with conda.

It is suggested to examine the changed meta.yaml, and if in doubt, leave the values as they were before modified by this script.

In the visionworkbench and stereopipeline recipes update the git_tag value to reflect the desired commit from the Git history.

When making an ASP release, one can tag the commit based on which the release happens in the VisionWorkbench and StereoPipeline repositories, and then that tag can be used in the git_tag field. See Section 24.4 for more details.

Later on, after the packages are built and tested, ensure that all the changes to the feedstock repositories are checked in.

24.2.5. Build the conda packages

When building a package that depends on other packages in the nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline channel, edit its meta.yaml file and specify the appropriate version for those dependencies.

It is very important to also ensure there is a new version for this package at the top of meta.yaml.

Each of the packages above can be built, in the order specified in Section 24.2.6, as follows:

conda build -c nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline -c usgs-astrogeology \
  -c conda-forge gdal-feedstock

Consider using the options --no-verify --no-test with this tool if it fails with with unrelated errors at the packaging stage, as it happened on OSX on occasion. This is a risky option and should be a measure of last resort.

Upload the produced packages to the nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline channel by first logging in, via the command:

anaconda login

and specifying the channel as the user name, and then running a command along the lines:

anaconda upload \

(Use above the path echoed on the screen by the conda build command.)

Use the --force option if desired to overwrite any existing package with the same name and version. Be careful not to overwrite a package that is meant to be used with a prior version of ASP.

After a package is uploaded, it can be installed in the existing isis8.0.0 environment as:

conda install -c nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline \
  -c usgs-astrogeology                     \
  -c conda-forge                           \

To list all packages in that channel, do:

conda search -c nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline --override-channels

To delete a package from this channel, run:

anaconda remove nasa-ames-stereo-pipeline/mypackage/myversion

24.2.6. Order of building the packages

It is suggested to build the above packages in the order listed earlier, as some of them depend on others.

Note that libpointmatcher depends on libnabo, while pdal depends on gdal, visionworkbench depends on gdal, and multiview depends on tbb (the latter for OSX only).

The stereopipeline package depends on all of these so it should be built the last.

24.2.7. Additional ASP dependencies

VisionWorkbench and StereoPipeline have a few more conda dependencies that need to be fetched from conda-forge.

If desired to create an environment in which to build ASP or to update the one in Section 24.1, the dependencies can be looked up in the meta.yaml files for these conda packages, after fetching them according to Section 24.2.3.

24.3. Building the documentation

The ASP documentation is encoded in ReStructured Text and is built with the Sphinx-Doc system (https://www.sphinx-doc.org) with sphinxcontrib-bibtex (https://sphinxcontrib-bibtex.readthedocs.io). These packages can be installed and activated as follows:

conda create -n sphinx -c conda-forge python=3.6 \
  sphinx=3.5.4 sphinxcontrib-bibtex=2.1.4
conda activate sphinx

Note that we used a separate conda environment to minimize the chance of conflict with other dependencies. Also, Sphinx version 4 seems to have trouble compiling our documentation, hence a lower version is used here.

In order to build the PDF (but not the HTML) document, a full LaTeX distribution is also necessary, such as TeX Live.

The docs directory contains the root of the documentation. Running make html and make latexpdf there will create the HTML and PDF versions of the documentation in the _build subdirectory. In particular, the PDF document will be at:


If the documentation builds well locally but fails to update on the web, see the build status page.

24.4. Releasing a new version of ASP using conda

This and subsequent sections are mostly reading for ASP developers. This content is included with the user documentation as this way it is easier to refer to relevant sections in the user guide.

24.4.1. Update the version number

Inside both the ASP and VisionWorkbench code, edit src/CMakeLists.txt and set the new version, which should be the same for both packages, and in the format x.y.z. If the value there is x.y.z-alpha, which is used to tag a pre-release, remove the -alpha part. Increment one of these digits, depending on whether this is a major, minor, or bugfix release. See https://semver.org for guidance.

24.4.2. Update the documentation

Search all documentation for the old version number for ASP and ISIS (such as 8.0.0) and replace it with the new version numbers. This includes files in the base directory, not just in docs.

Update NEWS.rst. Add the release date on top, along the lines of prior releases (see further down in that file). This file must have a detailed log of all changes, especially those that result in changed behavior or options, and it should be incrementally updated as changes are made during development.

24.4.3. Commit and tag

Commit all changes. Tag the release in the VisionWorkbench and ASP repos. Example:

git tag 3.3.0
git push origin 3.3.0 # commit to your branch
git push god    3.3.0 # commit to main branch

(Here it is assumed that ‘origin’ points to your own fork and ‘god’ points to the parent repository.)

If more commits were made and it is desired to apply this tag to a different commit, first remove the exiting tag with:

git tag -d 3.3.0
git push origin :refs/tags/3.3.0
git push god    :refs/tags/3.3.0

24.4.4. Build ASP with conda

See Section 24.2.

24.4.5. Test ASP

Fetch the stereo-pipeline conda package, per Section 2.3. Save it, for example, in a conda environment named asp.

Use the ASP test framework to test it. Set the correct paths in the configuration file used for testing, as described there.

24.4.6. Save a record of the conda packages

It is suggested to save a complete record of all packages that went into this conda release, as sometimes conda may have issues solving for the dependencies or it may return a non-unique solution.

The conda environment having the given ASP release can be exported as:

conda activate asp
conda env export > asp_3.3.0_linux_env.yaml

This was for Linux, and it works analogously on OSX. How to recreate ASP from this file is described in Section 2.3.

A file can also be made that lacks the entries for ASP and visionworkbench, so keeping only the dependencies. It can be saved with a name like asp_3.3.0_linux_deps.yaml (also edit it and change the name of the environment).

It is suggested to commit these in to the ASP repository, in the conda subfolder. These files can be checked in after the release is already tagged, built, and tested.

An example for how to use this file to create the environment having the ASP dependencies in Section 24.1.

24.5. Building self-contained binaries

In addition to creating a conda package, it is also convenient and ship an archive having all ASP tools and needed libraries (this includes the ISIS libraries but not the ISIS tools).

Such a build is created for each release and also daily. These are posted on the GitHub release page (Section 2.1).

This work is a continuation of the process described in Section 24.4.

24.5.1. Use BinaryBuilder

ASP uses a custom build system. It can be downloaded with git from:

Create a conda environment that has the dependencies for building ASP, as described in Section 24.1. Assume it is called asp_deps.

Install the C, C++, and Fortran compilers, cmake>=3.15.5, pbzip2, and for Linux also the chrpath tool, as outlined on that page.

Go to the directory BinaryBuilder, and run:

/path/to/python3                                \
  ./build.py                                    \
  --cc <path to C comipler>                     \
  --cxx <path to C++ compiler>                  \
  --gfortran <path to Fortran compiler>         \
  --asp-deps-dir $HOME/miniconda3/envs/asp_deps \
  --build-root build_asp                        \
  --skip-tests                                  \
  visionworkbench stereopipeline

This will fetch and build the latest VisionWorkbench and Stereo Pipeline in build_asp/build, and will install them in build_asp/install.

24.5.2. Create a conda environment having Python and numpy

ISIS expects a full Python distribution to be shipped. To avoid shipping the entire asp_deps environment, we create a separate environment having only Python, numpy, with versions as expected by current ISIS. Run, for example:

conda create -n python_isis8 python=x.y.x numpy=a.b.c

Note that different versions of these may be needed for Linux and OSX. The conda list command within the asp_deps environment can be used to look up the desired versions.

24.5.3. Prepare the documentation

Follow the instructions in Section 24.3.

Copy asp_book.pdf to the BinaryBuilder/dist-add/ directory. Then it will be added to the packaged build.

If this operation is not done, likely dist-add/ has the previous release documentation, which will be shipped instead. So this step must not be missed.

24.5.4. Package the build

Run in BinaryBuilder the command:

/path/to/python3                                  \
  ./make-dist.py build_asp/install                \
  --asp-deps-dir $HOME/miniconda3/envs/asp_deps   \
  --python-env $HOME/miniconda3/envs/python_isis8

The same command can be used to package the asp conda environment created earlier. Then, one should use instead of build_asp/install the directory $HOME/miniconda3/envs/asp. The dependencies will still come from $HOME/miniconda3/envs/asp_deps.

Building and packaging should be done separately for Linux and OSX.

24.6. Creating a GitHub release

Create a release on GitHub. Use the tag for the current release. Upload the binaries (for Linux and OSX, Section 24.5) and pdf documentation (asp_book.pdf, Section 24.3). Add to the release notes a link to the appropriate NEWS section of the documentation (Section 22). Only after all this save the release.

24.6.2. Updating the release from the command line

The GitHub tool gh can be used to push files to a release. Here’s an example usage:

cd BinaryBuilder
for file in StereoPipeline-3.3.0-Linux.tar.bz2 \
            StereoPipeline-3.3.0-OSX.tar.bz2   \
            asp_book.pdf; do
  gh release upload 3.3.0 $file \
    -R git@github.com:NeoGeographyToolkit/StereoPipeline.git

As before, do not delete and recreate the release, but it is fine to delete and re-upload the binaries and documentation.

24.6.3. Announce the release

Send an announcement of the new release to the mailing list and to the old stereo-pipeline@lists.nasa.gov, with a link to the NEWS section for the current release from the documentation.

24.6.4. Post-release work

Update the version number in src/CMakeLists.txt in boh the VisionWorkbench and ASP repositories.

If version 3.3.0 just got released, we expect that the next feature release will be 3.4.0, if a major release, or 3.3.1 if a minor release. So, the version tag should be updated to 3.3.1-alpha in anticipation (see https://semver.org for guidance).

Ensure the nightly build and regression (Section 24.7) scripts are modified to use the latest dependencies.

24.7. Nightly regression

The script auto_build/launch_master.sh in BinaryBuilder is used to build and test ASP nightly. If these succeed, the produced daily build is automatically uploaded to the GitHub release page. The Linux build runs locally while the OSX build runs on GitHub via Actions.

This script and also auto_build/utils.sh need to be read carefully and some variables adjusted.