Strengthening the Link Between GIS and Science with the SciPy Stack

Blog Post created by DWright-esristaff Employee on Nov 6, 2014

November 5, 2014 – See also http://shar.es/10xyqN

Redlands, California—Geography is the science of our world, and GIS is a foundational technology for helping us to better understand that science.  To further strengthen the link between GIS and science, today at the Ocean GIS Forum Esri is pleased to announce the integration of SciPy, a Python-based ecosystem of open-source software for mathematics, science, and engineering, with ArcGIS.

SciPy is a software library that helps scientists, engineers, and GIS Analysts perform custom scientific and technical computing.  It is an open-source library built using Python—an easy to learn, highly scalable, stable scripting language.  SciPy extends the basic functionality of Python by adding modules which perform functions useful to the scientific and engineering communities.

Integrating SciPy with ArcGIS will make developing scientific and technical geoprocessing tools and scripts easier and more efficient; GIS users won’t have to ‘start from scratch’ or ‘reinvent the wheel’ each time they start to solve a scientific or technical problem.  In addition, SciPy / ArcGIS integration will ensure that any custom scientific or technical geoprocessing tools GIS users create are easily sharable among the ArcGIS community of users.

A Multitude of Potential Uses

The possible applications of SciPy / ArcGIS integration are really only limited by the imagination of the GIS community.  SciPy has so many rich functions that it is hard to image all of the creative spatial problems that GIS users with scientific or engineering domain expertise will be able to tackle, but a few potential examples include:

  • An atmospheric scientist may use the image filtering modules to delineate zones of horizontal transport of water vapor.
  • A transportation geographer may use the Markov chain modules to simulate traffic flow.
  • A geoscientist may use the symbolic mathematics routines to trace faults and model crustal movement.
  • An ocean scientist may use the calculus module to calculate ocean dynamics
  • A fisheries scientist or resource manager may use the linear algebra modules to set a harvest quota for a fish stock.


SciPy will be integrated with ArcGIS through a staged release.  It will be available initially for ArcGIS Pro with the 10.3 release as an optional install. At the 10.3.1 release, SciPy will be automatically installed with ArcGIS for Desktop.




We will also again be producing a peer-reviewed research monograph based on papers presented at the Forum, and that book (including an e-book) will likely appear in the summer of 2016. If you would like to publish your research in the book despite not participating in the Forum, that would be welcome too. Here is the flyer for the current book —> http://esriurl.com/oceansolutions .


Please continue to watch and scroll through our Oceans Resource Center, for additional blog posts on 3D resources and formats, upcoming events, and more.