Python and Python Packages

The ECCO Python tutorial is compatible with Python 3. It relies on several packages including ecco_v4-py which include codes to facilitate loading, plotting, and performing calculations on ECCOv4 state estimate fields.

Why Python?

Python is an easy to learn open source programming language. In addition to the standard language library, there are thousands of free third-party modules (code libraries) available on code repositories such as Python Package Index (PyPI), _Conda and Conda Forge. Unlike commerical numerical computing environments like Matlab and IDL, Python is free for everyone to use. In addition, Python code can be run on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, and OS X.

Here are some links to help you learn more about Python.

Installing Python

There are several ways of installing Python on your machine. You can install compiled binaries directly from the Python website, or one can install via a package manager such as Anaconda or Miniconda. I personally find the Anaconda or Miniconda route to be simplest.


For scientific computing, the Anaconda Python distribution is quite convenient because it comes with a large collection of useful modules, a good open source IDE, Spyder., and the ability to open and execute Jupyter Notebooks

The latest installers for the Anaconda Distribution can be found on the Anaconda website

Downloading the ecco_v4_py Python Package

The ecco_v4_py package is a library of routines for analyzing the ECCO the Version 4 state estimate. The latest version can always be found on our github repository

Below are three options or installing the ecco_v4_py Python package.


Use only one of the options below!

Installing Dependencies


While conda is recommended because it automatically installs the required the GEOS (Geometry Engine) and PROJ (generic coordinate transformation software) binary libraries, you can install those libraries yourself.

Instructions for installing the GEOS library can be found on the geos website.

Instructions for installing the PROJ library can be found on the proj website.

Some users have reported difficulties installing these libraries on their platforms. For that reason, we recommend using conda (Option 1).

Using the ecco_v4_py in your programs

Assuming you downloaded the ecco_v4_py routines to /home/username/ECCOv4-py then simply add these three lines to the top of your Python programs (or Jupyter Notebooks)

import sys
import ecco_v4_py as ecco

If you you installed the package using pip then the ecco_v4_py library will be automatically installed and will be ready to import into your Python program via the following commands:

import ecco_v4_py as ecco