Esri Product Engineers/Data Scientists Shaun Walbridge, and Marjean Pobuda led the charge on a new peer-reviewed journal article about the open-source extension from Esri known as the Benthic Terrain Modeler (BTM). The paper describes the tools provided with the current release of BTM (v 3.0), highlighting powerful analytical workflows that combine ArcGIS with the Python scientific stack (aka SciPy), and the R statistical programming language (including the R-ArcGIS Bridge). BTM is used by scores of researchers around the world, and has been accessible for some time via ArcGIS Online at http://esriurl.com/btm (nearly 7500 views).
High resolution remotely sensed bathymetric data is rapidly increasing in volume, but analyzing this data requires a mastery of a complex toolchain of disparate software, including computing derived measurements of the environment. Bathymetric gradients play a fundamental role in energy transport through the seascape. Benthic Terrain Modeler (BTM) uses bathymetric data to enable simple characterization of benthic biotic communities and geologic types, and produces a collection of key geomorphological variables known to affect marine ecosystems and processes. BTM has received continual improvements since its 2008 release; here we describe the tools and morphometrics BTM can produce, the research context which this enables, and we conclude with an example application using data from a protected reef in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.
The paper is open access (#openscience) and part of a special issue on Marine Geomorphometry - http://www.mdpi.com/journal/geosciences/special_issues/marine_geomorphometry - featuring other studies that use GIS, including ArcGIS, as well.