11.3. Cassandra Command Line Tools

The GeoMesa Cassandra distribution comes with a set of command line tools for working with GeoMesa and Cassandra. This section shows how to use the tools.

Before starting, check the following:

  • Make sure Cassandra is running (check by running bin/nodetool status in your Cassandra installation directory.)
  • Make sure you’ve set the CASSANDRA_LIB environment variable (check by running echo $CASSANDRA_LIB)
  • Make sure you’ve created a key space within Cassandra (check by starting bin/cqlsh in your Cassandra installation directory, and then by typing DESCRIBE KEYSPACES)

Then, cd into the GEOMESA_CASSANDRA_HOME directory, and type bin/geomesa-cassandra help. You should get a listing of the tools with descriptions.

The first tool we’ll try is the ingest command. This command takes data from an external source and ingests it into the Cassandra database. For this example, we’ll use some sample data located at examples/ingest/csv/example.csv in the GEOMESA_CASSANDRA_HOME directory. Also, to make editing and running the command easier, we’ll use the example bash script at examples/ingest/csv/ingest_csv.sh. This is the script:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# spec and converter for example_csv are registered in $GEOMESA_CASSANDRA_HOME/conf/application.conf
bin/geomesa-cassandra ingest \
    --contact-point \
    --key-space mykeyspace \
    --catalog mycatalog \
    --name-space mynamespace \
    --converter example_csv \
    --spec example_csv \
  • The contact-point is the address a Cassandra node. If you’re running Cassandra locally with the default configuration, you shouldn’t have to change this.

  • The key-space is the Cassandra key space that you created as part of configuring Cassandra (see above). Edit this argument if needed to match the name of your key space.

  • The catalog argument specifies the name of a Cassandra table that will be created in your name space by the ingest command. You can name the catalog table anything you want. This table is a metadata table that contains a list of each GeoMesa data table that you have created. Before you run the ingest command for the first time, this table does not exist. When you run ingest for the first time, GeoMesa creates two tables: this “catalog” metadata table, and the table that actually stores your data. If you run ingest again with a different dataset, GeoMesa will append a row to the “catalog” table, and also create an additional table for the new data.

  • The name-space parameter can be anything you want. (It is used by GeoTools to provide a name space for your feature types.)

  • The converter and spec parameters refer to a specific file located at conf/application.conf within the GEOMESA_CASSANDRA_HOME directory. This file contains specifications for “converters” and “sfts” (SimpleFeatureTypes) parsed by the GeoMesa Convert library. In this specific example it only contains one of each: a converter and a SimpleFeatureType which are both called “example_csv”. The converter specifies how a raw data file should be parsed. For example, the converter specifies that the fourth column of the input file should be converted to a date using a specific date format. The SimpleFeatureType part specifies how the parsed data should be used to create a SimpleFeatureType. For example, this files specifies that the SimpleFeatureType’s first attribute should be one called “name”. GeoMesa uses these specifications to ingest the data from the external data file into the Cassandra database. (For more information on converters see GeoMesa Convert.)

    GeoMesa automatically finds the conf/application.conf file based on its name and location. You can add additional converters and SFT specifications to it as needed for ingesting other datasets. In addition, you can also specify converters and SFT specifications by adding directories to the conf/sfts directory. For more details see Using SFT and Converter Definitions with Command-Line Tools.

  • The last argument is the location of the data file that we want to ingest.

If needed, edit the parameter arguments in the bash script. Then, cd into the GEOMESA_CASSANDRA_HOME directory, and run the script by typing:

source examples/ingest/csv/ingest_csv.sh

You should see a message indicating that three features have been ingested.


If you see an error message regarding SLF4J, find the logback-classic-1.1.3.jar file in your CASSANDRA_LIB directory, and rename it to include a .exclude extension.

You can take a look at what happened by going to the Cassadra CQL shell (cqlsh) and typing:


This will show that two new tables have been created: mycatalog and example_csv. Type:

SELECT * FROM mykeyspace.mycatalog ;


SELECT * FROM mykeyspace.example_csv ;

to see the contents of the tables.

Now that we’ve ingested some data into the Cassandra database, we can try using some other commands. For example, we list the tables (“feature types”) that we’ve ingested:

bin/geomesa-cassandra get-type-names \
    --contact-point \
    --key-space mykeyspace \
    --catalog mycatalog \
    --name-space mynamespace \

We can also inspect the feature type that we just ingested:

bin/geomesa-cassandra describe-schema \
    --contact-point \
    --key-space mykeyspace \
    --catalog mycatalog \
    --name-space mynamespace \
    --feature-name example_csv

11.3.1. Configuring the Command Line Tools

You can configure the command line tools using the conf/geomesa-env.sh file in the GEOMESA_CASSANDRA_HOME directory. See the comments in that file for instructions.

11.3.2. Ingesting Other Datasets

To ingest other datasets, you need to provide converter and SimpleFeatureType specifications. For details on how to provide these specifications, see Using SFT and Converter Definitions with Command-Line Tools and ingest. For more details on the converter specification syntax see GeoMesa Convert.

When ingesting other datasets, keep the following GeoMesa-Cassandra-specific limitations in mind:

  • The feature type must have a date/time field in addition to a geometry field.
  • The geometry type must be “Point”. Polygons and other geometry types are not allowed.
  • The following attribute names may not be used in the feature type specification: pkz, z31, and fid . However, any field in the original data may be chosen as the ID field. This field will become the fid table in the Cassandra table.
  • The name of the feature type must be a valid Cassandra table name.
  • Complex field types like lists and maps are not allowed.