Basic Installation

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Revision as of 18:54, 26 February 2014 by Guy (talk | contribs) (Initial Setup)

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

Download source

Download the latest source code from sourceforge.


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

  1. Apache
  2. PHP 5.4
  3. MySQL

ARK is able to connect to any WMC/WFS compliant server of geographic information. Mapserver is no longer an ARK dependency. This means that that administrators can connect to a geographic database of their choice, to suit their needs. Details on Mapserver setup can be found on their website.

ARK runs on top of these packages and does not provide any set up of them or additional security 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.

Install Dependencies



Most Linux distros include a web service (like Apache) consult the documentation on your installation for instructions on how to configure your server. If your service path is configured, the service can be started with

 sudo service httpd start 

If you need to install Apache, instructions can be found on their website.

On most Linux distributions these packages will be installed by default.


ARK 1.1 requires PHP 5.4. PHP 5.5+ will not run ARK as some functions have been deprecated. This will be updated in future releases of ARK. It is important to ensure that you have the gd and dbase php extensions enabled.


MySQL is included in many Linux distros, but if you do not have it you may need to install mysql-server and mysql, instructions are available on the MySQL website.

You will need to secure the installation, sudo /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation.



For Mac OSX or Windows, the required packages are available as a bundle known as MAMP for Mac or WAMP Windows. Their websites detail the installation procedures for these service.

Unpack ARK

Unpack the ARK source code into the desired location in your server directory. By default this directory will be used to navigate your browser, so call it something short, easy to remember and unique to your installation. Consult the documentation of your distribution if you are unsure where this is. It is likely to be either /var/www/ or /srv/www/.

This directory will be used to navigate your browser, so call it something short, easy to remember and unique to your installation.

Create Database

Using the Command Line

You can use MySQL from the command line to add the 'arkuser' user to the MySQL installation for instance:


The values in this must be changed in order to secure your database. See the mysql manual for more information. ARK only requires one user on the database, individual users on the website are managed by ARK.

You will also need to create a database for your ARK to connect to.


You are encouraged to change these default names see the mysql manual for more information.

The ARK database is included in the ARK package as an SQL file. You can load this into your database by using the Source command on the mysql terminal specifying the location of the arkv1_1.sql file.

Using phpMyAdmin

Once you have your server running you should be able to navigate to phpmyadmin, which is a very useful tool for administrating a database. You can access it at [localhost:8888/phpMyAdmin] by default.

Use the interface to create a database and configure a user for your ARK.

ARK only requires one user on the database, individual users on the website are managed by PEAR, which is bundled in the ARK package.

Import the arkv1_1.sql file from the ARK source code into your database using the import tab on phpmyadmin.

More information on how to use phpmyadmin can be found on their website.

Initial Setup


You will need to update the values in the config/ folder of your ARK installation to match the environment that you are working in.


Start with the general settings.php file.

You can update the name of your ARK, this value will be used as the markup nickname (nname) for a piece of markup containing the human readable name of your ARK. This allows you to customise the name of your ARK as it appears in page headers and titles. You will now need to add the markup to the ARK database.

You should also set your default site code in this file. Make a note of your site code(s) and be sure to add them to the ARK database using the form provided in the data entry page as soon as you log in. You will now need to add the site code to the ARK database.

environment settings

Next edit your env_settings.php file.

Change the $server flag on line 52 to match your server type, either mac, windows or linux.

Then in the correct code block, alter the paths to match the locations of the relevant directories in your ARK environment.

Both local and remote paths for OpenLayers are offered, use // to comment out the line that you are not using.

Alter the database settings at the end of the file to match the database and user that you created earlier.

You are now ready to connect to your ARK!

Preflight Checks

Point your browser to the preflight checks file included in ARK to test that you have configured ARK correctly. It should be available on your server at'your ark directory'/config/preflight_checks.php. Depending on your setup you may be able to access it at localhost. Check your server documentation for details.

This tool will list set up options with either PASS or FAIL. If your config FAILs please follow the instructions on the preflight checks page, or refer to other pages on the wiki for more details.

Browse to ARK directory

After browsing to the ARK directory you should now be able to see the login pages for the database. The default database is created with the following admin user account:

username: doe_jd
password: janedoe

You will now need to create a new user for yourself, add markup for your ARK name and add your default site code.

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


Once you have pass all pre-flight checks you should remove (delete or make inaccessible) this file so that it cannot be seen by unwanted users.

If you plan on suing your ARK on an unsecured network (such as the Internet) you should consider how you intend to encrypt traffic between the user and the server. You should consider how you will be securing passwords and login credentials against various kind of attacks.