Short communication: The Topographic Analysis Kit (TAK) for TopoToolbox
Quantitative analysis of digital topographic data is an increasingly important part of many studies in the geosciences. Initially, performing these analyses was a niche endeavor, requiring detailed domain knowledge and programming skills, but increasingly broad, flexible, open-source code bases have been developed to increasingly democratize topographic analysis. However, many of these analyses still require specific computing environments and/or moderate levels of knowledge of both the relevant programming language and the correct way to take these fundamental building blocks and conduct an efficient and effective topographic analysis. To partially address this, we have written the Topographic Analysis Kit (TAK), which leverages the power of one of these open code bases, TopoToolbox, to build a series of high-level topographic analysis tools to perform a variety of common topographic analyses. These analyses include the generation of maps of normalized channel steepness, or χ, and selection and statistical analysis of populations of watersheds. No programming skills or advanced mastery of MATLAB is required for effective use of TAK. In addition – to expand the utility of TAK along with the primary functions, which like the underlying TopoToolbox functions require MATLAB and several proprietary toolboxes to run – we provide compiled versions of these functions that use the free MATLAB Runtime Environment for users who do not have institutional access to MATLAB or all of the required toolboxes.