Seabed Landforms Classification Toolset

The Seabed Landform Classification Toolset is a GIS toolbox designed to classify seabed landforms on continental and island shelf settings. The user is guided through a series of classification steps within an ArcGIS toolbox to classify prominent seabed features termed ‘seabed landforms’, which characterise the morphology of the seabed surface. Seabed landforms include reefs/banks, peaks, plains, scarps, channels and depressions. Plain areas can additionally be classified into high and low features at localised and broad scales to capture features within plain surfaces. Common variables for seabed classification are utilised, including slope, bathymetric position index and ruggedness, and a series of procedures are applied to identify reef outcrops and minimise noise. The classification approach applies a whole-seascape classification which is aimed to offer a flexible and user-friendly approach to extract key seabed features from high-resolution shelf bathymetry data.

This toolset was developed using ESRI ArcGIS Desktop 10.8 and requires an Advanced and Spatial Analyst licences and extensions. It utilises scripts within the Benthic Terrain Modeler toolset (Walbridge et al. 2018) and Geomorphometry and Gradients Metrics Toolbox (Evans et al., 2014).

Please read the User Guide and supporting documentation for information on how to run the toolset. A web explainer is available at:

The Seabed Landform Classification Toolset is also available for download on GitHub (

The toolset was developed by the Coastal and Marine Team, NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (formerly NSW Department of Planning and Environment), funded by NSW Climate Change Fund through the Coastal Management Funding Package and the Marine Estate Management Authority.

Please cite this toolset as: Linklater, M, Morris, B.D. and Hanslow, D.J. (2023) Classification of seabed landforms on continental and island shelves. Frontiers of Marine Science, 10,

Other toolsets utilised by the Seabed Landform Classification Toolset include: Benthic Terrain Modeler: Walbridge, S., Slocum, N., Pobuda, M., and Wright, D. J. (2018). Unified geomorphological analysis workflows with Benthic Terrain Modeler. Geosciences 8, 94. Geomorphometry and Gradients Metrics Toolbox: Evans, J., Oakleaf, J., and Cushman, S. (2014). An ArcGIS Toolbox for Surface Gradient and Geomorphometric Modeling, Version 2.0-0.

Data and Resources

Metadata Summary What is metadata?

Field Value
Language English
Edition 1
Purpose Coastal and marine management and research
Frequency of change As needed
Keywords MARINE,MARINE-Coasts,MARINE-Geology-and-Geophysics,MARINE-Reefs,ECOLOGY-Habitat,ECOLOGY-Landscape
Metadata Date 2023-09-23
Date of Asset Creation 2023-07-14
Date of Asset Publication 2023-09-26
License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Geospatial Topic Oceans

Dataset extent

Temporal Coverage From 2020-01-01 - 2023-09-23
Datum GDA94 Geographic (Lat\Long)
Legal Disclaimer Read
Attribution NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water asserts the right to be attributed as author of the original material in the following manner: "© State Government of NSW and NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water 2023"