GeoTrellis Enables Fast Agriculture and Forestry Prioritization Modeling in Chattanooga

GeoTrellis Enables Fast Agriculture and Forestry Prioritization Modeling in Chattanooga

Azavea recently completed a project with the Center for Academic and Innovative Technologies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (CAIT) (UTC), with funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation. The goal of the project was to evaluate the potential of using GeoTrellis, our open source geographic data processing engine, to provide local planners in the greater Chattanooga region access to advanced spatial models and data developed by UTC researchers. This project was the first phase of a larger initiative to support public participation in local and regional planning as well as provide the technical community and UTC students an open source spatial analysis platform that can be leveraged for research.

The original scope of this feasibility project included evaluating hardware and model feasibility and providing recommendations to UTC in the form of white papers, but during the process of the project we all realized how exciting it would be to create and deliver a working demo, rather than just documentation.

The demo incorporates an Agriculture and Forestry Prioritization weighted overlay model developed by Andy Carroll at UTC. Andy provided us the data and specifications for how the model should run. Since the goal is to provide these models to community planners who may have different goals than planners in, for example, Chattanooga, the interface provides a method to define a study area as well as interactive sliders to adjust the default model weights as needed. The application utilizes GeoTrellis to perform the weighted overlay calculation and returns a map and a summary of score results.

As always, the speed with which GeoTrellis processes calculations over thousands of square miles and millions of cells is astounding. We are looking forward to expanding this application in future phases of the project in support of a long term regional planning effort for the Greater Chattanooga area (

Check out the demo application at:

The code is hosted on GitHub: