Testing GeoDjango Apps

Changed in Django 1.2: Please, see the release notes

In Django 1.2, the addition of Spatial Backends simplified the process of testing GeoDjango applications – the process is now the same as Testing Django applications.

Included in this documentation are some additional notes and settings for PostGIS and SpatiaLite users.




The settings below have sensible defaults, and shouldn’t require manual setting.


Changed in Django 1.2: Please, see the release notes

This setting may be used to customize the name of the PostGIS template database to use. In Django versions 1.2 and above, it automatically defaults to 'template_postgis' (the same name used in the installation documentation).


When GeoDjango’s spatial backend initializes on PostGIS, it has to perform a SQL query to determine the version in order to figure out what features are available. Advanced users wishing to prevent this additional query may set the version manually using a 3-tuple of integers specifying the major, minor, and subminor version numbers for PostGIS. For example, to configure for PostGIS 1.5.2 you would use:


Obtaining Sufficient Privileges

Depending on your configuration, this section describes several methods to configure a database user with sufficient privileges to run tests for GeoDjango applications on PostgreSQL. If your spatial database template was created like in the instructions, then your testing database user only needs to have the ability to create databases. In other configurations, you may be required to use a database superuser.

Create Database User

To make database user with the ability to create databases, use the following command:

$ createuser --createdb -R -S <user_name>

The -R -S flags indicate that we do not want the user to have the ability to create additional users (roles) or to be a superuser, respectively.

Alternatively, you may alter an existing user's role from the SQL shell (assuming this is done from an existing superuser account):


Create Database Superuser

This may be done at the time the user is created, for example:

$ createuser --superuser <user_name>

Or you may alter the user's role from the SQL shell (assuming this is done from an existing superuser account):

postgres# ALTER ROLE <user_name> SUPERUSER;

Create Local PostgreSQL Database

  1. Initialize database: initdb -D /path/to/user/db
  2. If there's already a Postgres instance on the machine, it will need to use a different TCP port than 5432. Edit postgresql.conf (in /path/to/user/db) to change the database port (e.g. port = 5433).
  3. Start this database pg_ctl -D /path/to/user/db start


On Windows platforms the pgAdmin III utility may also be used as a simple way to add superuser privileges to your database user.

By default, the PostGIS installer on Windows includes a template spatial database entitled template_postgis.


You will need to download the initialization SQL script for SpatiaLite:

$ wget http://www.gaia-gis.it/spatialite/init_spatialite-2.3.zip
$ unzip init_spatialite-2.3.zip

If init_spatialite-2.3.sql is in the same path as your project's manage.py, then all you have to do is:

$ python manage.py test



By default, the GeoDjango test runner looks for the SpatiaLite SQL in the same directory where it was invoked (by default the same directory where manage.py is located). If you want to use a different location, then you may add the following to your settings:


GeoDjango Tests

Changed in Django 1.3: Please, see the release notes

GeoDjango's test suite may be run in one of two ways, either by itself or with the rest of Django's unit tests.

Run only GeoDjango tests

To run only the tests for GeoDjango, the TEST_RUNNER setting must be changed to use the GeoDjangoTestSuiteRunner:

TEST_RUNNER = 'django.contrib.gis.tests.GeoDjangoTestSuiteRunner'


First, you'll need a bare-bones settings file, like below, that is customized with your spatial database name and user:

TEST_RUNNER = 'django.contrib.gis.tests.GeoDjangoTestSuiteRunner'

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.contrib.gis.db.backends.postgis',
        'NAME': 'a_spatial_database',
        'USER': 'db_user'

Assuming the above is in a file called postgis.py that is in the the same directory as manage.py of your Django project, then you may run the tests with the following command:

$ python manage.py test --settings=postgis

Run with runtests.py

To have the GeoDjango tests executed when running the Django test suite with runtests.py all of the databases in the settings file must be using one of the spatial database backends.


Do not change the TEST_RUNNER setting when running the GeoDjango tests with runtests.py.


The following is an example bare-bones settings file with spatial backends that can be used to run the entire Django test suite, including those in django.contrib.gis:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.contrib.gis.db.backends.postgis',
        'NAME': 'geodjango',
        'USER': 'geodjango',
   'other': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.contrib.gis.db.backends.postgis',
        'NAME': 'other',
        'USER': 'geodjango',

Assuming the settings above were in a postgis.py file in the same directory as runtests.py, then all Django and GeoDjango tests would be performed when executing the command:

$ ./runtests.py --settings=postgis