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Configure ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer

ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer brings hundreds of ready-to-use analysis tools from ArcGIS to Microsoft Planetary Computer so you can observe, analyze, and monitor the earth. ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer spins up an ArcGIS Pro virtual machine (VM) on demand in the cloud. It offers all the capabilities you have licensed for ArcGIS Pro, including raster analytics tools, geoprocessing tools, and publishing tools, as well as any extensions you have purchased.

You can use ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer to apply image processing and analysis tools from ArcGIS Pro to support workflows such as the following:

  • Change detection to locate areas impacted by disasters, identify new urban development, monitor sea level changes, and update trend forecasts
  • AI and machine learning workflows such as land-cover classification and object detection
  • Susceptibility analysis to identify areas at risk of fires, floods, landslides, and other disasters
  • Suitability assessment to find the best sites for land-use prescriptions, conservation, and agriculture

Configure the ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer

Microsoft Planetary Computer is an analysis platform that allows you to access and use cloud computer services and catalogs of petabytes of earth science data layers. To access these resources using ArcGIS, you need a Microsoft Azure cloud account. Refer to the Microsoft Azure documentation or technical support team for help setting up and configuring the Azure account before you proceed.

To create an ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer instance, complete the following steps:

  1. Browse to the Azure Marketplace and search for ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer.

    A page with the ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer card appears.

  2. Click the card.

    ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer card

    The ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer landing page appears. The available offering is a preconfigured machine with ArcGIS Pro 3.1 and 3.2, available with pre-installed workflow patterns, deep learning libraries, and scripts for geospatial analysis on Microsoft Planetary Computer datasets such as NAIP, Sentinel, and Landsat.


    The offering requires that you supply your own licenses to ArcGIS Pro and the ArcGIS Image Analyst extension.

    You also need an active Azure subscription to get started. It is recommended that you connect with the Azure administrator in your organization to ensure that you have the necessary credentials for set up. If you do not have the necessary credentials, you cannot create the ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer instance.

  3. For Plan, choose a version of the preconfigured machine in the drop down list. This version number corresponds to an ArcGIS Pro version number. Click Create.

    ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer window

    The solution template wizard opens.

The tabs at the top of the Create ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer window are Basics, Virtual Machine Settings, Management Settings, and Review + create. This is the configuration sequence you will follow as you proceed through the template.

Basics tab in the Create ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer window

Basics tab

On the Basics tab, set up the ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer offering. Under Project details, choose the subscription to manage deployed resources and cost.

Set the Subscription

To set the subscription, complete the following steps:

  1. Choose the Azure subscription to use for the VM in this project.

    This is also the account that will be billed by Microsoft for use of this instance.

  2. Choose a Resource group value.

    This is usually defined by an administrator for accounts with predetermined permissions or policies. You can also create a Resource group value.

    To organize and manage all your resources, use the resource groups as you use folders.

Set the instance details

Under Instance details, the Regions option is not selectable. Because the Planetary Computer data catalog resides only in the West Europe region, creating and using a V M in the same region eliminates latency in data transfer and removes data movement charges.

To set the instance details, complete the following steps:

  1. Provide a name for the VM.

    A predefined name is set by default.

  2. For Size, set a value

    The default size (NC8as T4 v3) is an 8-core 56 GB RAM dedicated GPU instance. Some analysis tasks may require a higher level of compute resources, while other tasks may not require such a level of compute resources. To adjust compute resources, click Change size and choose a compatible size.

Set up the administrator account

To set up a new administrator account for the VM, complete the following steps:

  1. Provide your username and password.
  2. Click Next.

Virtual Machine Settings tab

To configure the settings on the Virtual Machine Settings tab, complete the steps below.

Virtual Machine Settings tab

  1. Under Disk Settings, specify the disk type and sizes.

    The default settings should be adequate for most tasks. At a later point, you can attach disks using the Azure console.

  2. Under Networking, set a value for Public IP address.

    Unless otherwise indicated by your organization, use the default setting for this option.

    System administrators can restricting the inbound IP addresses to enhance performance using the Azure user dashboard.

  3. Under Configure virtual networks, choose an existing network from the Virtual network drop-down list, or create a network if you have the appropriate organizational permissions.
  4. Specify a value for Subnet.

    This is part of the virtual network configuration and should be predefined by your system administrator.

  5. Click Next.

Management Settings tab

To configure the management options for the VM, complete the steps below.

Management Settings tab

  1. Check the Enable auto-shutdown check box.

    It is recommended that you keep this option checked. Automatic shutdown ensures that an instance does not run longer than it should, which can lead to additional compute costs.

  2. Under Auto-shutdown settings, provide an email address where you want to receive notifications about the instance.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Click Review + create.

Review + create tab

You can review the settings and confirm they are correct on the Review + create tab. The settings are automatically validated by the system for any errors.

Review + create tab

To connect to the VM, complete the following steps:

  1. Verify that all the information on the Review + create tab is correct, and click Create.

    It may take up to five minutes for the new VM to be set up and configured.

  2. Click Go to resource group.

    Go to resource group

    The resource group page appears.

    VM resource group page

  3. Click the VM in the list (vina-ampc-vm).
    It’s the name you provided when you created the instance.

    Click the VM.

    The dashboard for the VM appears.

  4. Review the information on the dashboard, where you can manage the instance, and, optionally, delete it, start it, connect to it, and so on.
  5. Click Connect.

    VM dashboard

Start and Stop the VM

You can start or stop a VM at any time. Ideally, you'll stop a machine when it is not in use to prevent additional cost, and start it when you're ready to work.

To start and stop a VM, complete the following steps:

  1. Browse to the Azure portal (

    The Azure services Resources page appears.

  2. Click the name of the VM.

    VM resources

    The instance portal page appears.

  3. Click Connect.

    Connect to the VM

    The remote desktop protocol (RDP) connection file is downloaded to your local machine.

  4. Once the file is downloaded, provide your Administrator credentials that you specified when creating the instance to connect to the VM.

Manage the VM

To manage the VM, complete the following steps:

  1. Browse to the Azure portal web page (
  2. Click Virtual Machines.

    The machine you created using the VM configuration template is shown.

  3. Click the instance.

    A new dashboard appears where you manage the VM. You can modify settings, start the instance, delete the instance, review logs, attach disks, and so on.

Delete the VM

When you have completed your raster analysis using the ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer VM, you can delete the instance using the same portal dashboard where you started and connected to the machine.

Access the virtual desktop

A typical Windows desktop configuration is used with ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer.

Similar to a desktop machine, ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer requires an ArcGIS Pro license. You can use your existing ArcGIS Pro license. All license types are applicable, including single user, concurrent user, and named user. The license level can be Basic, Standard, or Advanced and can include ArcGIS Pro extensions for additional processing, such as Image Analyst. The type of license you connect to this system determines the functionality that is available for processing.

The C:\AMPC_Resources folder configured for the VM contains Jupyter notebook examples, specialized tools, and connection files to work with ArcGIS for Microsoft Planetary Computer data. Please make a folder connection to C:\AMPC_Resources in your ArcGIS Pro project for easy access.

The latest version of these resources can be found under the AMPC github site.