Basics - JupyterLab and Virtual Desktop

Australian Research Environment

The easiest way to access Digital Earth Australia on the NCI is via the Australian Research Environment. ARE has full access to the NCI Gadi HPC Supercomputer, allowing you to run analyses using DEA at scale through your web browser via either an interactive JupyterLab session, or a Virtual Desktop environment.

For more information on ARE see the NCI’s ARE User Guide.

Launching JupyterLab from ARE


To run an ARE session you must be part of a project at NCI with compute capacity. DEA does not currently provide access to such a project.

ARE allows you to run code directly using Jupyter Notebooks via a JupyterLab interface. This is the simplest and most commonly used way to interact with ARE.

To launch a JupyterLab session, follow the instructions in Starting JupyterLab App (ARE User Guide) page in the NCI Help. See below for the settings required to use DEA.

Launching Virtual Desktops with ARE

Another option for accessing the NCI via ARE is to launch an interactive Virtual Desktop. This allows you to run your analyses using a similar interactive interface to your personal computer.

To launch an Virtual Desktop, follow the instructions in Connecting to the VDI page in the NCI Help. See below for the settings required to use DEA.

DEA access settings

The first time you start a JupyterLab or Virtual Desktop session, there are some settings required to access DEA.


To access data on the NCI’s filesystem, you need to list all NCI projects containing data you wish to access. Most importantly, this includes the v10 NCI project that contains files required to set up Datacube.

Type gdata/v10 into the Storage box, then use the dropdown to select other projects containing data you wish to access. See Data Access.


DEA Environment

DEA provides a pre-packaged NCI environment containing all important Python packages required to run a Datacube analysis. To use this environment, we need to specify it when we launch a JupyterLab or Virtual Desktop session.

Scroll down and expand Advanced options….

Set Module directories to /g/data/v10/public/modules/modulefiles.

Set Modules to dea.

Troubleshooting: ‘fe_sendauth: no password supplied’

When the dea module is first run, a Datacube database role and .pgpass password file is automatically created for you in your home directory. If you used a previous version of the NCI’s Virtual Desktop software (e.g. VDI, OOD), you may need to copy this original .pgpass file into your new ARE home directory. If you cannot locate your .pgpass file, please contact to request for your DEA database account to be reset.

Setting up Digital Earth Australia

You will need to install DEA the first time you launch a session.

In a terminal window in either JupyterLab or the ARE Virtual Desktop, run the command:

sh /g/data/v10/public/digitalearthau/

This will download the latest version of the Digital Earth Australia notebooks repository into your home directory (e.g. ~/dea-notebooks).


DEA Notebooks is a large repository that will take up a large proportion of available storage space in your home directory. We recommend cloning a new copy of the repository to a location on /g/data/ when possible. (Learn how to clone the DEA Notebooks repository.)