- Very useful add-ons not in Esri's standard distribution are available (iPython, pandas, etc).
- You can install and update Python as a regular user
- You can install and remove, and update third party packages easily (and without admin access)
- A single Python install stack can be used to set up different "virtual environments" (including "ArcGIS-standard" ones)
The general workflow to make this happen is to:
- Install Anaconda without fouling the Windows environment (paths, registry) to break Esri's python stack
- Configure Anaconda with the particular add-ons you want, and
- Configure ArcGIS's Python so that it is aware of the appropriate Anaconda content.
1) Install Anaconda
(Single-User - no admin access needed)
- Go to http://continuum.io/downloads
- select for Download the 32-bit python (because you should be compatible with the general/interactive version of python from ESRI)IMPORTANT: when installing, you will be asked whether to make the Anaconda Python the default version of Python and whether to add this to the PATH environment variable. Decline both options (or the ESRI python will stop working).(x86) version of Anaconda (ArcMap [32-bit] can only directly work with 32-bit Python)
- In the install dialog:
- Select install for a single user (Not "All Users")
- Install to a folder where there is going to be plenty of space (recommend the D drive, not the C drive)
- IMPORTANT: To avoid breaking ArcGIS, uncheck the checkboxes (a) make Anaconda the default Python and (b) add Anaconda's Python to the PATH.
At this point, you will have full Anaconda version of the python environment that's spiffy and new and totally useless with ArcMap.