Installation and Software Setup

Required Software

Install TurboVNC and Strudel according to the instructions at


The NCI released a new version of the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) on 28/10/2020. If you are having trouble connecting to the VDI after this date (and did not have trouble before this date) please consult the most recent VDI FAQ help


The NCI instructions recommend specific versions of TurboVNC and Strudel. More recent versions may or may not be compatible with the VDI.


Your institution may provide this software to be installed via an internal process. For example at Geoscience Australia, the software can be requested from the Software Service Management System (SSMS) [internal link only].

Connecting to the VDI

To setup Strudel to connect to the NCI, run the Strudel application, then:

  • Select File -> Manage Sites

  • Click New

  • Enter the details:

    • Name: NCI Virtual Desktops

    • URL:

  • Click OK

  • Make sure the Active checkbox is ticked.

  • Click OK

To connect:

  • Site: NCI Virtual Desktops

  • Username: Your NCI username (eg abc123 or ab1234)

  • Click Login


If the drop-down site list in Strudel remains empty, it most likely means that the software is unable to retrieve the strudel.json URL, such as due to firewall or network proxy configuration.

Setting up DEA

Once you have logged on to the VDI, you can install Digital Earth Australia.

From the Applications menu in the top left of the screen, choose System Tools -> Terminal.

Start Terminal Menu

In the terminal window run the command:

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

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

Once this has completed, click Applications menu in the top left of the screen, then Science. This menu will now include a new program called Digital Earth Australia.

New menu item

You can then click this icon to launch Jupyter Lab with the Digital Earth Australia environment preconfigured. From within this environment you can access the notebooks from the User Guide, or create your own notebooks to work with Digital Earth Australia.


For more information about getting started with Digital Earth Australia on the NCI, refer to the Digital Earth Australia Notebooks wiki page.

Shutting Down VDI

After you have finished working on the VDI, any open terminals can be closed using the x in the corner of the tab and the VDI can be closed by clicking your name displayed in the top right corner of the VDI interface and selecting Quit. The Strudel window will subsequently also close after a few moments.

If you wish to disconnect from the VDI but keep the session running you can close the VDI window using the x in the top right corner of the window and select keep the session running when prompted by the Strudel window. Later you can reconnect to the VDI and resume the previous session.