Basic Installation

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Preconfigured ARK setups are available from the ARK team. If you are unfamiliar with the setup and adminisration of webservers along with the security risks to your system and data this entails, please consider contacting us to aquire a fully running ARK. For those of you who have already got a server and want to go though the installation proceedure, we have provided the following notes:


ARK requires the following open source software packages to be installed on your server:

  1. Apache 2
  2. PHP 5
  3. MySQL 5
  4. PEAR Liveuser

In order to benefit from the spatial integration offered by ARK, you will also need the following packages:

  1. PHP Mapscript

Apache PHP MySQL

On most Linux distributions these packages will be installed by default. ARK is not particularly fussy about the version numbers of these packages and should run ok on PHP4 and MySQL4, although this may require some minor modifications. It is important to ensure that you have the gd and dbase php extensions enabled.

You will need to make sure that you set the short_open_tag option to On in your php.ini.

For Mac OSX and Windows, these packages are available as binary distributions. ARK is known to run on MAMP, the binary distribution for Mac and WAMP or MS4W, the binary distributions for Windows.

The MS4W distribution also contains Mapserver and if this is installed only MySQL needs to be added.

ARK runs on top of these packages and does not provide any set up of them or additional securuty to them. If you are using your server exposed to the internet, it is essential that you follow good standard security practice for the configuration of your packages. This setup is outside of the scope of this documentation and you are advised to undertake your research carefully.

PEAR LiveUser

The PEAR Liveuser is used to ensure effective security for the ARK system. ARK makes use of PEAR LiveUser, LiveUser_Admin, MDB2, and MDB2_driver_mysql, DB, and Event_Dispatcher. All of these packages will need to be installed in order for ARK user authentication to function.

For details on how to install and configure live user, and the associated packages required, please see the PEAR website. PLEASE NOTE that ALL the PEAR SQL tables are already included with the basic ARK database, and do not need to be added to the database again during PEAR setup.


MS4W [1] is a no fuss installer for setting up MapServer on Microsoft Windows platforms. It includes a Apache HTTP version, PHP, Mapserver and loads of nice tools.

MS4W is super simple to install on a server. Either download [2] the base package which consists of a folder which unpacks to the C-drive of the server or try out the new installer.

If you are using the base package you need to start the Apache server by running C:\ms4w\apache-install.bat. If the installation is succesful you should get the main page by pointing you browser to http://localhost/ or

If this does not work it is very likely that your port 80 is already in use. Go to C:\ms4w\Apache\conf\httpd.conf and on line 120 change LISTEN 80 to LISTEN 8080 or another port which is not in use.


Mapscript runs on all three major operating systems. The installation instructions vary depending on many factors. Detailed installation instructions are available on the Mapserver website.

Installing ARK

Ark is installed by unpacking the source code into the document root of the webserver where you intend to host it. The second phase of installation is then the initial setup and creation of the empty database.

Download source

Download the latest source code from and unpack it into the document root of your server. If you are unsure of the correct location of the document root, you could try reading the manual of your apache distribution.

Install a database

In order for ark to work, you need to install an ARK database on your MySQL server. Preconfigured sample databases are available for download from the download area of the ARK site. At present you must install the sql dump on the server manually using your tool of choice. We think that phpMyAdmin is a good way to do this.

  1. Download your chosen database dump file
  2. Point your browser at the phpMyAdmin installation on your web-server
  3. Make an empty database, by going to the Databases screen and filling in the Create new database box. Make the Collation utf8_unicode_ci and that should deal with most character sets.
  4. Once the database is created, switch to it and choose Import
  5. Using the Browse button, point it at the file that you have downloaded (it should be a tar.gz) - make the character set utf8
  6. Click Go and wait a little while, and the database structure should be loaded up fine.
  7. You will need to set up a user and give it at least SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE andDELETE privileges to the new db.

Update the DB Settings

You will now need to update the server-specific DB settings in settings.php. THE DATABASE WILL NOT WORK UNTIL THESE SETTINGS HAVE BEEN UPDATED.

Browse to ARK directory

In browsing to the ARK directory you should now be able to see the login pages for the database. The tutorial database is created with the following two user accounts:

username: janedoe
password: janedoe

username: johnsmith
password: johnsmith

If there are any problems, please check your settings.php and env_settings.php files to ensure you are using the correct settings.