I am interested in running cellular Automata to run a simulation on city growth. Which GIS software can run this out of the box, or via plugins?

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    blah238 how did you correct the environment values in ArcGIS 10.1. I want to use Agent Analyst in ArcGIS 10.1 and don't know how to install it properly. – Juwairia Jan 17 '14 at 4:31

I was able to do this in ArcGIS using Repast's Agent Analyst Extension a couple of years ago. It allows you to do agent-based geosimulation, CA included. It uses Java or a subset of Python called Repast Python. Not sure if it's still supported, though. It goes by Repast Simphony now. Here is a walkthrough on creating cellular automata models to get you started.

Another tool for ArcGIS is the cellular automata tool that comes with Hawth's Analysis tools. I don't have any experience with that one though.

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    I was about to post about Agent Analyst. I have not had any luck with it in 10.1 SP1 though. The Agent Analyst environment does not appear after creating an Agent Analyst tool. Should work in 10.0 though. – blah238 Dec 19 '12 at 5:56
  • Only used it for 10.0 and 9.3. Thanks for the warning. – R.K. Dec 19 '12 at 5:59
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    BTW, Agent Analyst for ArcGIS 10.0 is here: resources.arcgis.com/en/help/agent-analyst – blah238 Dec 19 '12 at 5:59
  • Excellent!!! This looks promising. – Devdatta Tengshe Dec 19 '12 at 6:09
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    Actually I got it to work in 10.1 by correcting the values of the environment variables added by the installer to point to the java, javaw and arcobjects.jar files under the ArcGIS 10.1 install directory. – blah238 Dec 19 '12 at 6:26

IDRISI works quiet well. And it seems someone ask quite the same question here.

I hope it will help you.

EDIT : On open source side, there is TerraME.


You may have a look at the GAMA platform:

GAMA is a simulation platform, which aims at providing field experts, modelers, and computer scientists with a complete modeling and simulation development environment for building spatially explicit agent-based simulations (...). GAMA provides the modeler with the ability to use arbitrarily complex GIS data as environments for the agents.

For CA, see for example this tutorial.


The best integration of a GIS with a cellular automata modeling system is TerraME from INPE in Brazil.

Another CA modeling system with som GIS-like capabilities is NetLogo. The logo language takes some getting used to, but this is a great CA platform.


I don't think any COTS product will have a built-in tool for CA.
You can write your own logic or use a combination of built-in tools to achieve the result.

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