New Terrain Analysis Journal Article by Esri Authors

03-14-2018 10:23 PM
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Esri Product Engineers/Data Scientists Shaun Walbridge, Noah Slocum, 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 (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 - - featuring other studies that use GIS, including ArcGIS, as well.

About the Author
Dawn was appointed Chief Scientist of Esri in October 2011 after 17 years as a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University. As Esri Chief Scientist, she reports directly to Esri CEO Jack Dangermond with a mission to strengthen the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while representing Esri to the national and international scientific community. Dawn maintains an affiliated faculty appointment as Professor of Geography and Oceanography at Oregon State. Follow her on Twitter @deepseadawn. More info. also at and