Benthic Terrain Modeler

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Version 3.0 (beta) of the Benthic Terrain Modeler (BTM) for ArcGIS 10.1 Desktop is a collection of tools that ocean and coastal scientists and resource managers can use with bathymetric data to classify and understand the benthic environment. The current beta release for ArcGIS 10.1 consists of ArcPy scripts in a custom toolbox that allow the user to run the individual processes as separate functions. Alternatively, users can take advantage of the simple Esri Add-In that wraps around all BTM tools, re-creating the full “wizard” experience that was available in the previous releases.

The BTM Toolbox and Add-In contain tools that allow users to create grids of bathymetric position index (BPI), standardized BPIs, and slope and calculate terrain ruggedness from an input bathymetric data set. Additionally, two terrain classification tools give users the freedom to create their own zone and structure classifications and define the relationships that characterize them.


  • Guides users through the terrain classification process and allows users to create and distribute their own benthic terrain classifications
  • Creates bathymetric position index (BPI) data sets at large or small scales; Depending on user needs, creates BPI data sets for either classifying smaller or larger features within the benthic landscape
  • Creates a rugosity data set as a measure of terrain complexity, or the “bumpiness” of the terrain
  • Provides functionality to create and edit classification dictionary files in a user-friendly environment

Technical Specifications

  • ArcGIS 10.1
  • Spatial Analyst extension


BTM Toolbox Tutorial
This self-paced training module introduces the benthic terrain modeling concepts used in the BTM and steps users through sample analyses. The tutorial, which includes sample data, applies to the individual ArcPy scripts located in the BTM Toolbox and not the BTM Add-In. (The tutorial is included with BTM download package.)

Installation and Setup
The installation and setup procedure can also be found at the Esri download site. Instructions for installation and setup of the BTM Add-In and Toolbox are located there and are also included with the BTM download package within a README.txt file.