Sandbox help documentation

The Digital Earth Africa Sandbox, by default, will load several folders containing helpful notebooks and source code. They are essential to the Sandbox’s operation, so do not delete or move any of the files.

The Beginner’s Guide notebooks cover similar material to the explanations and exercises in this workshop series. However, they also provides more in-depth detail on how to perform data extraction and analysis. The Beginner’s Guide notebooks, along with the ‘frequently used code’ notebooks, are a great reference tool.

This section provides a summary of these folders and their contents. It also contains some recommended but not compulsory activities that will help increase your familiarity with Digital Earth Africa and the Sandbox.

For tips on how to access files and folders in the Sandbox, check out the section on navigating the Sandbox.

For a review on how to execute code in a notebook, see this section on running a notebook.

Beginner’s Guide - start here

Beginners Guide folder

The Beginners_guide folder contains step-by-step tutorials to help you become more familiar with the Digital Earth Africa Sandbox. The tutorials contain background information and context, as well as code and data examples and explanations. The guide covers a range of basic Sandbox functions, including how to load data and plot it.

If you are still unclear on the scope and focus of Digital Earth Africa and the Sandbox, this is also a great place to read more about it and see some hands-on demonstrations of Earth observation data at work.

The notebooks are numbered in progress order; start at 01_Jupyter_notebooks.ipynb. There are no prerequisites to be able to complete this notebook.

Suggested activity: Read and follow examples in the Beginner’s Guide notebooks, starting with 01_Jupyter_notebooks.ipynb. This can be done interactively (recommended), as detailed in running a notebook. Open the file and from the horizontal menu bar select Kernel -> Restart Kernel and Clear All Outputs, then follow instructions in the notebook.

Take your time — it is not necessary to review all of the notebooks in one sitting. If you are new to Python coding, there will be a fair amount of content. Some of it will be covered in subsequent sessions of this workshop series.

Frequently used code

Frequently used code folder

The Frequently_used_code folder contains a series of notebooks that demonstrate code snippets doing useful and common functions. For example, want to calculate the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)? You could set up your own formula — but it would be faster and easier to use the NDVI function as shown in Calculating_band_indices.ipynb. How about drawing a contour line between water and land? Check out Contour_extraction.ipynb. There are many useful tips and tricks in the Frequently_used_code folder.

It is helpful to know what is in this folder, so you can draw upon the code if you need to do something similar when writing your own notebooks.

Suggested activity: Read all the titles of the notebooks in the folder. Open Masking_data.ipynb and run through its contents by selecting Kernel -> Restart Kernel and Clear All Outputs and then executing cells as you go.

Real world examples

Real world examples folder

The analytical power of the Sandbox is shown in the folder Real_world_examples. This folder contains multiple notebooks which cater to ‘real world’ use cases, from monitoring crop health to detecting water.

The code in these notebooks is more complex, but it is exciting to see what Digital Earth Africa can do.

Suggested activity: Pick a notebook that interests you and run through it.


Datasets folder

The notebooks in the Sandbox are all based on Earth observation data available to Digital Earth Africa. These datasets are explained in individual notebooks in the Datasets folder. Each notebook contains background information about the dataset and examples of use.

Some of the datasets are based directly on satellite measurements. For example, information on the Landsat and Sentinel satellite datasets can be found in their respective notebooks:

  • Landsat_collections.ipynb

  • Sentinel_1.ipynb

  • Sentinel_2.ipynb

Other datasets refer to derived products which have been created to show a particular environmental feature. These include:

  • Soil_Moisture.ipynb

  • Fractional_cover.ipynb

  • Water_Observations_from_Space.ipynb

More dataset notebooks are added to this folder as the Digital Earth Africa collection expands. Use the notebooks in this folder to familiarise yourself with the available data and products.

Suggested activity: Run through the notebook on Sentinel 2 data, Sentinel_2.ipynb.

Other folders

There are a few other folders in the home folder, such as Scripts and DCAL. Feel free to have a browse, but they are not important to know about when you are starting out.

Suggested activity: Ignore these folders for now.

Help! I deleted a file…

See the Frequently asked questions section on restoring pre-loaded notebooks.