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ArcGIS Notebooks for Teaching and Research: A Powerful Tool for Data Scientists

05-04-2023 08:51 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Scripting and modelling play a crucial role in the spatial data science framework and are essential skills in any data science-related courses. ArcGIS Notebooks provide a seamless way to work with Python code and spatial data from within ArcGIS platform.  It is a tool for GIS professionals, data scientists, and developers who want to work with geospatial data in a collaborative and interactive environment.

ArcGIS Notebooks offers a similar user-friendly Jupyter Notebook coding environment and more:

  • Integration of live code with media content like visualizations, equations, and text.
  • The markdown feature that helps users describe their work with explanatory text, graphics, and more.
  • Creation and insertion of code snippets
  • Automation scheduling tasks to run your notebook non-interactively at a recurrent interval
  • Integrated user interface to easily search for and add spatial data, services, analysis tools,
  • Access to GIS analysis tools in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise to run them within the codes


Where to find ArcGIS Notebooks?

ArcGIS Notebooks can be found in ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Pro.   All the three includes pre-defined notebook environments (“runtimes”) that contain over 400 open-source Python libraries, plus the ArcGIS API for Python and ArcPy.  This means that you can run ArcPy tools in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise, in addition to ArcGIS Pro.   


ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online

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ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.

  • Run in the browser, no installation needed
  • It automatically recognizes the user identity authenticated by ArcGIS Online
  • It comes with three runtimes with different resources: Standard, Advanced and Advanced with GPU.
  • Stored as items in ArcGIS Online, which makes it easy to share code and collaborate with other users in the organization.  An existing, standalone IPYNB files can be uploaded into ArcGIS Online as Notebook items.
  • Easily create and store multiple snapshots of notebooks to backup your work, and restore your notebook to a previous state if needed
  • Includes Esri Sample Notebooks, which have examples to demonstrate many different spatial data science workflows.  They are a useful resource for teaching/learning Python and can be easily adapted to your specific workflows.

Note:  You will need your ArcGIS Online administrator to enable a few user privileges in the setting to use ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online.  Refer to this PDF lesson on how to enable ArcGIS Notebooks for your organization.   

More info about ArcGIS Notebooks in the cloud with ArcGIS Online.


ArcGIS Notebooks for Enterprise


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Deploy ArcGIS Notebook Server within ArcGIS Enterprise that runs in your own infrastructure and behind firewall

  • Supports all notebook capabilities and sample notebooks as listed for ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online.
  • Supported on Microsoft Windows, various Linux OS, and on AWS or Azure Cloud platforms
  • Serve the users across the network
  • Scalable for larger projects, with multi-machine and multi-licensed sites
  • Support automation of Notebook workflows, via portal web hooks, and publishing of notebooks as a web tool
  • The notebook runtimes are updated with each release with new packages and /or updated version of existing packages
  • Can extend to include additional Python libraries in a custom runtime.
  • Has access to all ArcGIS Enterprise analysis capabilities, including Standard Analysis, Raster Analytics and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server tools

Learn ArcGIS Notebook Server in ArcGIS Enterprise 


ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro


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ArcGIS Pro Notebooks is part of ArcGIS core functionality.  No additional installation or license needed.

  • They are included within ArcGIS Pro as items within the project. 
  • Users can easily import existing, standalone IPYNB files into ArcGIS Pro projects as Notebook items.
  • They can be used side-by-side with ArcGIS Pro maps.  This means that analysis results from the Notebook can be immediately viewed in a geographic context and incorporated into other analysis, mapping, and visualization workflows. 
  • Includes the capabilities for users to drag and drop layers, datasets, folder connections, etc. from the Catalog, Contents, and Geoprocessing history directly into notebook cells.

Learn How to create and add Python notebooks in ArcGIS Pro


ArcGIS Notebooks for Teaching

ArcGIS Notebooks is an ideal tool for teaching data science courses. It enables students to learn Python in a practical and interactive way by providing a step-by-step interface for spatial data analysis tasks. With the web-based version, students can access it from anywhere, making it easy for them to collaborate on projects and assignments.

Using ArcGIS Notebooks, instructors can create interactive notebooks as teaching materials, and assignments.  Because it is part of ArcGIS, it is a lot easier for the students to access the data or layer hosted in ArcGIS from within ArcGIS Notebooks. 

In addition, with ArcGIS Notebooks, it is not necessary to manage multiple Python environments or keep libraries consistent and up to date between them. ArcGIS Notebooks includes hundreds of data science libraries and can add more libraries.

The three deployments are included with Esri Education Program licenses.  Contact your Esri license administrator for access to ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online, or ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Enterprise.  

Following tutorial series can be adopted for the classroom

Additional Resources for ArcGIS Notebooks

Resources for spatial data science


For questions, or if you need assistance, or would like to connect, feel free to contact Canserina Kurnia at

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About the Author
Canserina Kurnia is a GIS professional with over 20 years of experience. She currently holds the position as a Senior Solution Engineer at Esri, at their headquarter office in Redlands, California. Her main role is to provide technical advices and assistance to universities globally, in advancing their GIS technology for teaching and research.