Topographic Analysis Tools Software

Who is the TAT Team?

The Topographic Analysis Toolkit is a repackaging of a variety of tools that used to be available as part of the GCD software.

Development Team

The current TAT development team consists of James Hensleigh (now USGS, formerly USU ETAL), Philip Bailey, James Brasington, and Joe Wheaton.


The development team is easisest to describe by breaking it out into the ToPCAT and former MBES components.


The TAT ESRI Add-In came about when a bunch of tools were orphaned from GCD 6 with the release of GCD 7. Philip Bailey pulled the ESRI Add-In together, but mainly by moving James Hensleigh’s code and forms out of GCD 6.

ToPCAT - ToPographiC Analysis Toolkit

ToPCAT was originally developed as PCTools by James Brasington (The University of Waikato (New Zealand)) and Mike Bithell (University of Cambridge) around 2005 as we were struggling with how to work with large point clouds from ground-based LiDAR, and was later expanded by James Brasington, Igor Ryckov and Damià Vericat, when Igor and Damià were post-docs with Joe Wheaton and James at Aberystwyth University from 2005 to 2009. James Hensleigh (now USGS, formerly USU ETAL) and Joe decided to incorporate ToPCAT into both the MBES Toolkit for Idaho Power and GCD from around 2014-2015.

MBES GUI & Tools

This toolset grew out of James Hensleigh’s Masters Thesis and project led by James Hensleigh of ET-AL for the Idaho Power Company River Engineering Group on the Hell’s Canyon Bathymetric Surface Differencing Project. Primarily, we sought to recommend peer reviewed and scientifically defensible methods that facilitate accurate geomorphic change detection of MBES data by adhering to best practices in the fields of topographic surveying and analysis. The recommended methods address field data acquisition, data post processing, and change detection using post processed data.

Who are Tatty Teddy and ToPCAT?

While the British definition of Tat is “anything that looks cheap, is of low quality, or in bad condition”, we really go for the ‘looks cheap’ side of this (hey TAT is free after all). ‘Tatty’ Teddy is a disused teddy bear that was all but left for abandoned in a pile of garbage outside an old house being demolished. However, Tatty found new life, when discovered by a child. While TAT may not be actively under development, there are a number of useful tools and workflows in TAT we hope you’ll find useful.


Top Cat was a cartoon character in an American 1960s television series. However, Top Cat made it over to England in James’ youth and left enough of an impression on him that when he realized the name PC-Tools (point cloud tools) was taken by others already, why not invent another acronym with a name stolen from a forgotten cartoon.

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