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NodeODM is a standard API specification for processing aerial images with engines such as ODM. The API is used by clients such as WebODM, CloudODM and PyODM. This repository contains a performant, production-ready reference implementation written in NodeJS.


Getting Started

We recommend that you setup NodeODM using Docker.

  • From the Docker Quickstart Terminal (Windows / OSX) or from the command line (Linux) type:

    docker run -p 3000:3000 opendronemap/nodeodm
  • If you’re on Windows/OSX, find the IP of your Docker machine by running this command from your Docker Quickstart Terminal:

docker-machine ip

Linux users can connect to

  • Open a Web Browser to http://<yourDockerMachineIp>:3000
  • Load some images
  • Press "Start Task"
  • Go for a walk 🙂

If the computer running NodeODM is using an old or 32bit CPU, you need to compile OpenDroneMap from sources and setup NodeODM natively. You cannot use docker. Docker images work with CPUs with 64-bit extensions, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSSE3 instruction set support or higher. Seeing a Illegal instruction error while processing images is an indication that your CPU is too old.

Building docker image

If you need to test changes as a docker image, you can build easily as follows:

docker build -t my_nodeodm_image --no-cache .

Run as follows:

docker run -p 3000:3000 my_nodeodm_image &

Testing alternative ODM images through NodeODM

In order to test alternative ODM docker images in NodeODM, you will need to change the dockerfile for NodeODM to point to your ODM image. For example if you built an alternate ODM image as follows:

docker build -t my_odm_image --no-cache .

Then modify NodeODM’s Dockerfile to point to the new ODM image in the first line:

FROM my_odm_image
MAINTAINER Piero Toffanin <[email protected]>


Then build the NodeODM image:

docker build -t my_nodeodm_image --no-cache .

Finally run as follows:

docker run -p 3000:3000 my_nodeodm_image &

Running rootless

  • A rootless alternative to Docker is using Apptainer. In order to run NodeODM together with ClusterODM in rootless environments, for example on HPC, we need a rootless alternative to Docker, and that’s where Apptainer comes in to play. From the Linux command line, cd into the NodeODM folder and run the following commands to host a NodeODM instance:
apptainer build --sandbox node/ apptainer.def
apptainer run --writable node/ 

apptainer build --sandbox requires you to have root permission to build this apptainer container. Make sure someone with root permission build this for you. You will need to build this apptainer container if you want to work with ClusterODM on the HPC. Check for ClusterODM for more instructions on using SLURM to set it up.

An apptainer.def file can be built directly from the dockerfile as needed:

pip3 install spython
spython recipe Dockerfile &> apptainer.def

API Docs

See the API documentation page.

Some minor breaking changes exist from version 1.x to 2.x of the API. See migration notes.

Run Tasks from the Command Line

You can use CloudODM to run tasks with NodeODM from the command line.

Using an External Hard Drive

If you want to store results on a separate drive, map the /var/www/data folder to the location of your drive:

docker run -p 3000:3000 -v /mnt/external_hd:/var/www/data opendronemap/nodeodm

This can be also used to access the computation results directly from the file system.

Using GPU Acceleration

Since ODM has support for GPU acceleration you can use another base image for GPU processing. You need to use the opendronemap/nodeodm:gpu docker image instead of opendronemap/nodeodm and you need to pass the --gpus all flag:

docker run -p 3000:3000 --gpus all opendronemap/nodeodm:gpu

The GPU implementation is CUDA-based, so will only work on NVIDIA GPUs.

If you have an NVIDIA card, you can test that docker is recognizing the GPU by running:

docker run --rm --gpus all nvidia/cuda:10.0-base nvidia-smi

If you see an output that looks like this:

Fri Jul 24 185155 2020       
| NVIDIA-SMI 440.82       Driver Version: 440.82       CUDA Version: 10.2     |
| GPU  Name        Persistence-M| Bus-Id        Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan  Temp  Perf  Pwr:Usage/Cap|         Memory-Usage | GPU-Util  Compute M. |

You’re in good shape!

See and for information on docker/NVIDIA setup.

Windows Bundle

NodeODM can run as a self-contained executable on Windows without the need for additional dependencies (except for ODM which needs to be installed separately). You can download the latest bundle from the releases page. Extract the contents in a folder and run:

nodeodm.exe --odm_path c:\path\to\ODM

Run it Natively

If you are already running ODM on Ubuntu natively you can follow these steps:

1) Install Entwine:

2) Install node.js, npm dependencies, 7zip and unzip:

sudo curl --silent --location | sudo bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs python-gdal p7zip-full unzip
git clone
cd NodeODM
npm install

3) Start NodeODM

node index.js

You may need to specify your ODM project path to start the server:

node index.js --odm_path /home/username/OpenDroneMap

If you want to start node ODM on a different port you can do the following:

node index.js --port 8000 --odm_path /home/username/OpenDroneMap

For other command line options you can run:

node index.js --help

You can also specify configuration values via a JSON file:

node index.js --config config.default.json

Command line arguments always take precedence over the configuration file.

Run it using PM2

The app can also be run as a background process using the pm2 process manager, which can also assist you with system startup scripts and process monitoring.

To install pm2, run (using sudo if required):

npm install pm2 -g

The app can then be started using

pm2 start processes.json

To have pm2 started on OS startup run

pm2 save
pm2 startup

and then run the command as per the instructions that prints out. If that command errors then you may have to specify the system (note that systemd should be used on CentOS 7). Note that if the process is not running as root (recommended) you will need to change /etc/init.d/ to set export PM2_HOME="/path/to/user/home/.pm2", as per these instructions

You can monitor the process using pm2 status.

Test Mode

If you want to make a contribution, but don’t want to setup OpenDroneMap, or perhaps you are working on a Windows machine, or if you want to run automated tests, you can turn test mode on:

node index.js --test

While in test mode all calls to OpenDroneMap’s code will be simulated (see the /tests directory for the mock data that is returned).

Test Images

You can find some test drone images here.

What if I need more functionality?

NodeODM is meant to be a lightweight API. If you are looking for a more comprehensive solution to drone mapping, check out WebODM, which uses NodeODM for processing.


Make a pull request for small contributions. For big contributions, please open a discussion first. Please use ES6 syntax while writing new Javascript code so that we can keep the code base uniform.


See the list of wanted features.