Many of us have grown up thinking about GIS as a desktop software on our PC. (Ok, some of us remember farther back, to minicomputers and mainframes.) But as Roger Tomlinson taught during so many years, GIS is best thought of not as software for you but rather as a project among many. GIS is quite often a team activity, and frequently these days most of the team members are not sitting in a GIS lab or department.
Today it makes sense to think of what we might call “modern GIS”, which merges a powerful desktop system with mobile apps, web apps, enterprise server components, cloud mapping and data services, and developer tools to be able to provide the right functionality and the right user experience (UX) for experts to absolute novices. The proverbial GIS toolbox is distributed and now resides at many locations. The end user might be on fieldwork, collecting data and accessing the GIS via a mobile device; the data might be stored on a cloud server in another city or country; the processing routines might be running on another server; an external user might be watching the results on a dashboard in yet another location. This distributed system architecture has become a key part of the digital transformation of many organizations, the practical result of which is simply providing GIS-based analysis to many more employees or researchers.
Learning about –and teaching-- modern GIS, what thousands of government and commercial organizations are using or are migrating to, opens the door to new collaboration and career opportunities. Let me be clear: traditional GIS users are seeking young graduates to help them move to, and scale-up, modern GIS architecture.
To get an idea of how Esri views modern GIS take a look at this video (or most any recent Esri conference video) outlining the evolving ArcGIS architecture, including but not limited to traditional GIS. These modern GIS components were not built by a speculative start-up, rather by a 50-plus year old technology company aiming to satisfy the day-to-day needs of organizations around the world. Who are these users? Let’s get specific. Esri’s Industries website provides a glimpse of what each of these professional communities does with and needs from a modern GIS.
Some instructors might think that this wider GIS architecture is too much to dominate, too much to keep up with. But no one person needs to be specialized in, nor teach, all of this. Each one of us chooses the tools and methods that are appropriate for the discipline, level and needs of user, and the tasks at hand. Are we interested in data collection? Then mobile apps are worth investing time in. Is data sharing a priority? Then online portals come into view. Do we need to extend the GIS to include external machine learning routines? Then developer tools come into play.
Understanding the options available, and what each component might be used for, moves GIS instruction further toward the industry and government workflows that students will encounter after graduation.
Many of these modern GIS components are available for free testing at the Learn.arcgis.org site. The Collector app is easily installed on mobile devices and allows field workers –from a utilities company or a science classroom—to collect and share geodata to an online, multiuser database. Survey123 is another mobile app, that allows users to create and run a geocoded survey in the field. You can watch in realtime as survey responses appear on the webmap: where do people feel unsafe, or want graffiti cleaned, or have seen a particular bird species? ArcGIS Online allows GIS users to create, analyze, visualize, organize, share, and discover geodata, from any web-connected device. StoryMaps and Dashboards provide many options for communicating GIS-based results to non-experts. Many students, non-expert GIS users, and also professional organizations can do most of their GIS work just with these web-enabled ArcGIS tools. The COVID-19 crisis has made it necessary for many people, including instructors and students, to brush up on these online solutions. In doing so they are discovering a whole new viewpoint on what is GIS is.
The following FAQ will answer some of your commonly asked questions as it relates to using ArcGIS Notebooks in the cloud (ArcGIS Online). This list will continually be updated.
Introduction to ArcGIS Notebooks
Q: What is ArcGIS Notebooks?
A: ArcGIS Notebooks provides a Jupyter notebook experience optimized for spatial analysis.
Q: What are benefits of using ArcGIS Notebooks?
A: ArcGIS Notebooks ships with hundreds of open source Python libraries alongside the ArcGIS Python libraries, ArcPy, and the ArcGIS API for Python. Other benefits include:
Provide easy sharable, consistent Python environment.
Reduces time spent in managing dependencies.
Direct access to web maps and apps.
Q: What are options to work with ArcGIS Notebooks in the ArcGIS platform?
A: Options to work with ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS platform are:
ArcGIS Notebooks for Enterprise (server)
ArcGIS Notebooks in the cloud (ArcGIS Online)
ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro (workstation)
ArcGIS Notebooks for Developers (Builder plan and higher)
Q: What are the differences between ArcGIS Notebooks Standard, Advanced and Advanced with GPU Support?
Standard– includes the ArcGIS API for Python and hundreds of open source libraries; appropriate for administrative tasks, data engineering, and light analytics. While standard notebooks themselves are free to create and run, anything that would ordinarily consume credits in ArcGIS Online still does when performed in a notebook (running analysis or accessing premium content).
Advanced– includes everything offered in Standard plus ArcPy; offers a larger instance size (more compute and memory resources); appropriate for most workflows including large scale data engineering, advanced analytics and some machine learning workflows; credit rates apply.
Advanced with GPU– includes everything in Standard and Advanced along with a GPU powered instance that offers the highest amount of compute and memory resources; appropriate for computationally intensive workflows such as big data analytics, model training and model inferencing; credit rates apply.
Enabling Access to ArcGIS Notebooks
Q: Is a custom role needed to enable ArcGIS Notebooks access? How do I enable access to ArcGIS Notebooks for all the members in ArcGIS Online?
A: Notebook privileges are assigned through the role settings. To assign privileges that allow users to access standard or advanced notebooks in ArcGIS Notebooks, you’ll need to create a custom role in your ArcGIS Online Settings (by Administrator). You can create the custom role based on any of the default roles such as Publisher role. Once a new custom role is created, you will need to add notebook create and user privileges to your new custom role:
Under Role privileges, expand the Content group and turn on Create and edit notebooks. This allows the user to create and edit standard notebooks.
Expand the Premium content group and turn on Advanced Notebooks. This allows the user to create Advanced Notebooks that use ArcPy or access the GPU-enabled notebook runtime.
Once you’ve created a custom role with Advanced Notebooks enabled, you can make that role the default role for new users (Settings > New member defaults). All users joining the organization from this point forward will automatically have access to ArcGIS Notebooks. You will also need to assign that custom role to the existing members.
Q: Is there documentation on how to set up access to ArcGIS Notebooks I can give to my Administrator?
A: Yes. This PDF lesson provides a step-by-step instruction on how to setup access to ArcGIS Notebooks by an Administrator.
Q: Is there any way to control this default setting? It seems like if you enabled Advanced access, when you spin up a Notebook, it defaults to Advanced. Can the default change to Standard, even for users with Advanced access?
A: No, not with the current release. The Product team is working on a new launch experience that will make it easier for users to not accidentally pick an advanced runtime if that is not what they desire.
Q: How is credit usage calculated with Advanced and Advanced with GPU?
A: Credit is charged per minute so if you divide those rates listed in the doc by 60, you will get the per minute pricing. Knowing the hourly rates makes it easier to do quick estimation.
Use this as a reference:
Standard: 0 credits/minute
Advanced with GPU:.5 credits/minute
$0.05 USD /minute
Q: Can you give examples of credit usage for using ArcGIS Notebooks for a class?
A: The credit usage will depend on the amount of time Notebooks are used. It also depends on the number of users and whether Notebooks are being used a few hours a week in a class or being used in a research project (many hours per week for an entire year).
For example, if a class of 20 students uses Notebooks for an average of 4 hours per week for a 16-week long course, the credit usage would be:
Advanced Notebooks: 3,840 credits total for course = 20 students x 4 hours x 16 weeks = 1,280 hours = 76,800 minutes @ 0.05 credits/min
Advanced Notebooks with GPU: 38,400 credits total for course = 20 students x 4 hours x 16 weeks = 1,280 hours = 76,800 minutes @ 0.5 credits/min
If an individual researcher uses Notebooks an average of 20 hours per week for a year (excluding a 4-week vacation), the credit usage would be:
Advanced Notebooks: 2,880 credits total for course = 1 researcher x 20 hours x 48 weeks = 960 hours = 57,600 minutes @ 0.05 credits/min
Advanced Notebooks with GPU: 28,800 credits total for course = 1 researcher x 20 hours x 48 weeks = 960 hours = 57,600 minutes @ 0.5 credits/min
Thus, in a classroom setting, you may want to budget 200-500 credits per student for Advanced Notebooks or 2,000 – 5,000 credits per student for Advanced+GPU.
In a research setting, you might want to budget 3,000 – 5,000 credits per person for Advanced Notebooks or 30,000 – 50,000 credits per person for Advanced+GPU.
Working with ArcGIS Notebooks
Q: How long can a notebook be open before it goes idle and automatically disconnects?
A: 20 minutes. We do not charge for idle time, credits are calculated based on the last activity within the notebook.
Q: What happens if I forgot to close the Notebooks?
A: The notebook will time out and disconnected after 20 minutes of being idle.
Q: Can I use local data with ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online?
A: Yes, you can. On the Files component in ArcGIS Notebooks, you can upload your local data into /arcgis/home. You can also use the Python API to create a new folder and add data there.
Q: Can I create a new file folder under Files?
A: Yes, but you must do it using the ArcGIS API for Python. Adding new files to this location will also require the use of Python code.
Q: Is there a limit to how much data (rasters, shapefile, file geodatabases) I can upload into ArcGIS notebooks?
A: This depends on how you bring in data, using the ArcGIS API for Python to add data will allow you to bring in larger file sizes. The current file size limit using the upload UI under Files is 20MB. A new big file uploader is on the roadmap to increase the file size allowed by the upload UI.
Q: Can you schedule notebooks?
A: No, not with the current release.
Q: Can I download a notebook from ArcGIS Online?
A: Yes, here are two options:
1) In the Notebook, under File > Download As
2) Find the notebook item in your Content > Open the item details page > Click Download button
Q: Can I upload a notebook into ArcGIS Online?
Yes, In the Content, choose Add Item > From your computer. It will add as a new item. Be aware that any notebook uploaded will automatically use your default runtime unless you explicitly change it in the Item Details page.
Q: Are there some samples Notebooks? Where can I find them?
A: Samples are included in ArcGIS Notebooks. There is a link to the Samples on the top right of your Notebooks in ArcGIS Online.
There are sample notebooks for categories: data science and analysis, content management and ArcGIS Online administration.
ArcGIS Notebooks Resources
Q: Do you have resources for teaching with ArcGIS Notebooks?
A: Yes. Learn ArcGIS provides a learning path for teaching with ArcGIS Notebooks. You can also refer to this webpage for educators.
Q: Do we have resources for self-learning ArcGIS Notebooks?
Q: How do I submit an enhancement request or report a bug?
A: Bugs should be reported through tech support, enhancement requests can also be submitted through tech support. Additionally, you can use the GeoNet community to share ideas and engage with the broader ArcGIS Notebooks community.
In a recent post, I introduced the idea of spatial environmental education, using map-based analysis to teach and learn environmental studies. I hope to strengthen this idea in this column by showing how spatial analysis can foster learning about environmental content and relationships. One of the central themes of environmental studies is examining the interaction between humans and the environment. How does the environment affect people, through such characteristics as daily weather and long-term climate, native plants and animals, landforms, the availability of water, local and regional natural hazards, and predominant soil type? Conversely, how do humans affect their environment?
IS can be used to teach and learn about environmental content and relationships. Photograph by Joseph Kerski, out on the landscape in Wyoming.
Another central environmental theme is change. The Earth is a dynamic planet. Comparing land cover change based on examining Landsat satellite imagery, comparing the variation in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes by year, or investigating population change in an urban area are three of the many ways in which change can be examined using maps within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS), starting withArcGIS Online.
Because environmental phenomena interact, move, and change, it is not enough to know content only: Relationshipsandprocessesare critical to understanding the environment. GIS can foster each of the Center for Ecoliteracy’s six core ecological concepts: networks, nested systems, cycles, flows, development, and dynamic balance. GIS allows variables to be input, modeled, and modified so that the dynamics of environmental processes can be studied. Hungerford and Volk (1991) defined nine key ecological concepts that they said were necessary for environmental education programs, including (1) individuals and populations, (2) interactions and interdependence, (3) environmental influences and limiting factors, (4) energy flow and nutrient cycling, (5) community and ecosystem concepts, (6) homeostasis, (7) succession, (8) humans as members of ecosystems, and (9) the ecological implications of human activities and communities. GIS can enhance the teaching of each of these concepts.
AnNSF-funded project from theNAAEE resulted in a definition of environmental literacy that includes four interrelated components: (1) competencies, (2) knowledge, (3) dispositions, and (4) environmentally responsible behavior. By using the same tools used by scientists, GIS aids in the first two of these, and by investigating real issues in their communities and beyond, GIS aids in helping with the last two of these components.
Students who use GIS in tandem with environmental studies develop key critical thinking skills. These skills include understanding how to carefully evaluate and use data. This is especially critical in assessing environmental data, due to its increasing volume and diversity, and given its often sensitive and politically charged nature. Moreover, crowd-sourced data appears regularly from “citizen science” initiatives all over the world on pine beetle infestations, the appearance of monarch butterflies each spring, phenology, birds, and a host of other topics. These data are more frequently being tied to real-world coordinates that are mapped and analyzed. Students and graduates using GIS and who are grounded in environmental studies will be in demand to help make sense of this deluge of incoming data.
Students using these tools can map phenomena and features such as ocean currents, ecoregions, and the locations of usable geothermal energy. They can use the tools to answer various questions. How does pH vary along this stretch of river, and why? How do tree species and tree height change depending on the slope angle and slope direction of the mountain, and why? Why do wind speed and direction vary across North America the way they do?
Are you using GIS to teach or learn about environmental content and relationships? If so, how?
Reference Hungerford, Harold R., and Trudi L. Volk. Curriculum Development in Environmental Education for the Primary School: Challenges and Responsibilities. Invited paper for The International Training Seminar on Curriculum Development in Environmental Education for the Primary School. May 1991.
Dr Sandra Lach Arlinghaus and I have co-written a book entitled Spatial Mathematics—Theory and Practice Through Mapping, published by CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. Spatial mathematics draws on the theoretical underpinnings of both mathematics and geography. Spatial mathematics draws from geometry, topology, graph theory, trigonometry, modern algebra, symbolic logic, set theory, and more. To build bridges between mathematics and geography, each of the book’s 10 chapters begins with theoretical discussions that form the bridge foundation, and activities that form the span between the two disciplines. It can be used as a text in geography, GIS, or mathematics courses at the university or community college level, and by researchers interested in these intersections, and by GIS practitioners who seek deeper insight into the mathematics behind their spatial analysis.
Our table of contents includes 10 chapters:
1. Geometry of the Sphere 2. Location, Trigonometry, and Measurement of the Sphere 3. Transformations: Analysis and Raster/Vector Formats 4. Replication of Results: Color and Number 5. Scale 6. Partitioning of Data: Classification and Analysis 7. Visualizing Hierarchies 8. Distribution of Data: Selected Concepts 9. Map Projections 10. Integrating Past, Present, and Future Approaches The book also includes a Glossary, References, Further Reading, and Related Materials.
Waldo Tobler of the University of California Santa Barbara, wrote, “Two ancient texts had a profound and lasting impact on the literate world—Euclid’sElements, and the rediscovery in the 1400s of Ptolemy’s Geography from AD 150. […] Now, in this book, additional insight for the mathematical solution of geographical tasks is provided. The pedagogical orientation is especially worthy of comment.” Michael Batty, of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London, wrote “Teaching mathematics can be tough but here is a book that is a gentle introduction to the mathematics of the spatial world through the medium of mapping. The use of QR codes to access additional map-based material is clever and innovative, and provides a nice link to the very technologies that this mathematics supports.”
Michael Goodchild, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote that “Mathematics underpins geography in many ways, especially in this new era of computerized mapping and geographic information systems. Geography can also be an exciting and relevant way of teaching many of the basic concepts of mathematics, from geometry and topology to statistics. So this book on spatial mathematics as applied to mapping is both timely and welcome. The wealth of practical examples and the enthusiasm of its authors will fill an important niche in a mapping literature that often underplays the importance and relevance of mathematics.” Marc Schlossberg of the University of Oregon, wrote, “This book is both all about the map and all about the math behind the map, using what has become ubiquitous on our smart phones and in our vehicles as a vehicle itself to teach complex concepts accessible, meaningful, and useful for students.”
Dr Damian Gessler of Semantic Optionsrecently gave a keynote address in which he stated, “transformational change is enabled as past technologies simplify.” Immediately, I thought of the many presentations and papers where several of my colleagues and I have appliedEverett Rogers’ diffusion of innovations theoryto GIS in education. Rogers theory focuses on how innovations are adopted, at first by innovators and then by early adopters. Rogers says that for real change to occur with any technology, the early majority of users, representing one standard deviation below the mean, will need to adopt the technology. Some of us, such as in this book, are arguingthat with the advent of web based GIS and the resulting lowering of technological and learning barriers, we are beginning to see an “early majority” of educators using GIS in their instruction.
Gessler’s point perfectly applies to the use ofGIS in education: First, GIS has 50-year roots, so while one can argue that it is changing more rapidly now than ever before, it qualifies as a “past technology” as identified by Gessler. Its methods and models have been tested, vetted, and refined. Second, it has simplified in many ways–through the advent of the graphical user interface around 2000, web based services through the Geography Network of the early 2000s and on through the modern Software-as-a-Service architecture, and its ability to incorporate real-time data feeds, multimedia (via story maps and other mapping applications), and field data through crowdsourcing and other methods. As it has become easier to use, it has simultaneously become more powerful.
These two simultaneous trends are attracting people in a widening diversity of disciplines to the use of GIS. As people are attracted to it, decisions are increasingly made using the geographic perspective, and transformational change is enabled, to put it in Dr Gessler’s words. Nowhere was that more evident than during the COVID crisis, where thousands of Hub sites, dashboards, web maps, and infographics appeared within weeks. In the classroom at the primary, secondary, and university levels in formal and in informal settings, the use of the technologies and methods are beginning to cause transformational change in how skills, content knowledge, and perspectives are taught and learned.
Do you agree that we are seeing a transformational change with regard to the use of GIS in education? What do you recommend that we as the community need to do in order to further encourage and hasten these developments?
For those looking for Spatial Deep Learning and GeoAI Resources, the following provides beginner-to-Pro list for different Imagery Deep Learning, GeoAI, ArcGIS Notebooks examples and other resources in the format of quick overview, videos, articles and sample notebooks.
If you are interested to teach with ArcGIS Notebooks, the Esri Learn ArcGIS Team has released a new learn path with the title Teach with ArcGIS Notebooks, Thislearn pathis intended for Educators who would like to incorporate ArcGIS Notebooks in their teaching/courses.
This learn path consists of 6 sequential modules:
Enable ArcGIS Notebooks in your organization (PDF lesson – 15 min). This PDF lesson is intended for the Administrator of your ArcGIS Online, describing how to enable ArcGIS Notebooks capability in the organization.
Hello Notebook! (PDF Lesson – 15 min). Learn how to create the first notebook in ArcGIS Notebooks, basics operations, create a map, add a layer and save the notebook.
Teach Web GIS with ArcGIS Notebooks (PDF lesson – 30 min). Teach web GIS workflows in ArcGIS Notebooks using python scripting methods. Learn how to perform analysis in both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Notebooks.
Convert ArcGIS Notebooks to slides (Video – 2 min). This video shows how to convert an ArcGIS Notebook into a slideshow for teaching.
Deliver a class assignment as an ArcGIS Notebook (Video – 2 min). This video shows how to use an ArcGIS Notebook to deliver a class assignment.
Linking Blackboard LMS to ArcGIS to share Notebooks (Video – 2 min). This video shows how to share ArcGIS Notebook assignments via the Blackboard LMS.
This new learn pathhelps to easily adopt the Notebooks in your course(s). In near future, we also plan to write another learning path targeted more for students to learn to use ArcGIS Notebooks.
If you need more info on enabling ArcGIS Notebooks in your organization, read this related blog.
We welcome your feedback! . Feel free to contact me at email@example.com, if you have any questions or need more assistance.
In this webinar, we will explore how to use ArcGIS GeoEvent Server with NVIDIA's DeepStream to build an enterprise-wide video analytics workflow, that is able to analyze massive amounts of real-time video surveillance feeds for deep traffic analytics. We will also cover how to build an end-to-end oriented imagery feature extraction pipeline using custom computer vision networks and ArcGIS for a variety of use cases such as road sign extraction, optical character recognition, and road condition classification.
At the User Conference Plenary session, Jack Dangermond briefly announced a new program, the Learn ArcGIS Student Program, designed to provide access to software and lessons to higher education students who are learning ArcGIS independently (outside of a formal course), and who don’t have access through their institution. The program provides access to ArcGIS and self-paced learning resources for self-initiated learning anywhere and at any time.
The program will have a global reach. It is designed for students in fields such as data science, public health, business, journalism (and many others!) who know the value of GIS to their work but lack access to software and training. It provides motivated students a way to acquire additional skills that expand their career options in the digital economy.
This program builds on the success of the program launched in March to support students and educators amidst COVID-19 college/university closures. That program offered free software access and learning resources via extended Learn ArcGIS membership to students globally until August 31st, 2020.
The new program will launch September 1, 2020 and will offer qualified students free access to ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro for one (1) year through a membership in the Learn ArcGIS organization.
Higher education students whose institution already has education licensing should seek access to ArcGIS via their institution. For learning as part of a formal course/degree program, research, or operational/administrative use, access should be provided by the institution.
Many of you are implementing these best practices for enabling access to ArcGIS for all students, faculty and staff via your institution’s license. Please continue to follow these best practices; this program should not change existing workflows.
For further details, here is an FAQ explaining who this program is for, eligibility, what is included, verification process, and what happens after the 1-year ends.