The Bartlett School of Architecture



6 December 2016



depthmapX is free for academic use. The software is on the way to become open source. For full information see: https://github.com/varoudis/depthmapX

depthmapX is a single software platform to perform a set of spatial network analyses designed to understand social processes within the built environment. It works at a variety of scales from building through small urban to whole cities or regions. At each scale, the aim of the software is to produce a map of open space elements, connect them via some relationship (for example, intervisibility or overlap) and then perform graph analysis of the resulting network. The objective of the analysis is to derive variables which may have social or experiential significance.

At the building or small urban scale, depthmapX can be used to assess the visual accessibility in a number of ways. It can produce point isovists, that is, polygons representing the visually accessible area from a location, along with measures of those polygons (such as perimeter, area and so on), or it can further join a dense grid of isovists into a visibility graph of intervisible points (with graphs of up to about 1000000 point locations). The visibility graph may then be analysed directly using graph measures, or used as the core of an agent-based analysis. In the agent-based analysis a number of software agents representing pedestrians are released into the environment. Each software agent is able to access the visual accessibility information for its current location from the visibility graph, and this informs its choice of next destination. The numbers of agents passing through gates can be counted, and compared to actual numbers of pedestrians passing through gates.

At the small to medium urban scale, depthmapX can be used to derive an 'axial map' of a layout. That is, derive a reduced straight-line network of the open space in an environment. The axial map has been the staple of space syntax research for many years, but the mathematical derivation of it is novel. The automatic derivation allows an objective map for research into formal and functional attributes of cities and buildings. Once the map has been generated, it may be analysed using graph measures, and the measures may be transferred to gate layers in order to compare with indicators of pedestrian or social behaviour. For larger systems where the derivation algorithm becomes cumbersome, pre-drawn axial maps may be imported.

Axial maps may be broken into segment maps, or segment maps, such as road-centre line maps, may be imported directly. These maps can be analysed using a variety of techniques. The rules used for the analysis can be based on segment steps, angular turns from one road interjunction to another, or can be determined by the physical distance along the roads. For example, the number of shortest angular paths through a segment may be calculated, or the average road distance from each segment to all others may be calculated.


Tasos Varoudis
Research Fellow
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Original UCL Depthmap software developed by Alasdair Turner



Download depthmapX

depthmapX is available for free.

It may be downloaded by registered users from:


In order to access the download page, users must first register using this form:




Version 10.08.00

Many features are covered in this tutorial by Joao Pinelo. You may also find tutorials for 7.12.00 and 8.15.00 useful.

Introduction to version 10 (4.0MB)
Version 7.12.00 and 8.15.00 Tutorial

These tutorials are in PDF format. Note that they were originally prepared for version 7.12.00 and there are some very minor changes between 7.12.00 and 8.15.00 which are not covered. We hope that you will find no problems using them to learn version 8.15.00.

depthmap basics including VGA
import geometry and visibility graph analysis (1.1MB)
depthmap axial analysis
import, generate or hand-draw an axial map, including linking and unlinking lines (1.3MB)
depthmap convex analysis
hand-draw a convex map, including linking spaces and analysing the map (0.8MB)
depthmap data analysis
entering observation data, pushing values to layers, showing scatter plots, calculating correlation coefficients and exporting to spreadsheet programs (1.9MB)
Advanced depthmap presentation
discussion of advanced segment analysis topics in depthmap. Note that "Topomet" is included with depthmap and does not need to be installed separately (1.8MB)
Extra Materials

The DXF files used in these tutorials are:

Barnsbury original map data copyright © Cambridge University Press 1984, reproduced here with kind permission. Original drawings by J Hanson, digitised by A Turner.

In addition gallery.zip contains a VGA analysis of gallery.dxf, and example mif/mid files. 

A Researcher's Handbook

This page stores all versions of the Depthmap Researchers' Handbook. Please choose the version of the appropriate version of the handbook for your version of UCL Depthmap.

  • Version 4.09:

Depthmap 4 – A Researcher's Handbook (revision 1) (pdf)

  • Version 4.06:

Depthmap 4 – A Researcher's Handbook (pdf)


Scripts can be used to create user-defined formulae and simple graph measures.

Scripts from the SalaScript Manual

These examples are used in the SalaScript Manual.

Calculate total depth for each node in a VGA, axial or convex map
Calculate the shortest cycle for each node in an axial or convex map

These scripts are teaching materials developed by Alasdair Turner and licensed under the CC-GNU GPL.

Developers' Area

Depthmap is available free for academic usage.

It may be downloaded by registered users from:


In order to access the download page, users must first register using this form:


Mailing List

If you are a UCL Depthmap user, you may want to subscribe to the UCL Depthmap mailing list to exchange experiences with other users.


The software covers two separate models for spatial analysis; the Space Syntax model and the Agent model. These two models are theoretically different in spite of the fact that they agree on the principal relationship between space and society. They start from different representations, and they diverge at the point of modelling. The agent model represents an emergent process that leads to form aggregate patterns of movement activity. Through its ability to display movement data in relation to aggregate patterns of agents, Depthmap’s agents have proven to be an effective tool to simulate natural movement. Space Syntax builds on a synchronic reduction of spatial relationships in the built environment. Mapping this reduction into networks of longest and fewest lines, Depthmap’s axial and segment analyses are powerful methods for predicting to-movement and through-movement in cities. On the scale of buildings, spatial analysis using Depthmap can reveal relational structures that convey how social organisations occupy spaces. Depthmap is a platform that brings together these too models to be tested in an analytical approach. It also affords experimental and developer approaches.

The current usage of this software has proven to engage different types of academic communities that have a language in common with the notion of space. These communities range between planners, designers, social scientists, anthropologists, crime scientists, geographers, computer scientists and economists. In general terms, all what brings together the social and the spatial. In different contexts, spatial modelling using Depthmap can help forming assumptions about social behaviour in space and model spatial and social relationships. Moreover, Depthmap significance exceeds its common usage as an analytical tool to understand the built environment on different scales and go beyond that to act as a design and decision making support tool. The intelligent usage of software will deploy it in supporting design process with a knowledge-base that is suggested to make designs more responsive towards the real settings of the built environment. In simple terms, Depthmap is increasingly used as a tool for design thinking. By using it efficiently, the software helps on sparing time and cost, particularly on the scale of complex buildings and large scale urban planning.

The plans to make this software as an open-source platform along with the ongoing process of knowledge dissemination coordinated with Space Syntax LTD. will help adapt this software to accommodate different types of usage. It will allow for personalising the software to fit with certain expectations. It will also allow the integration of this software with other GIS and CAD packages, making it part of a wider community of planners, geographers and designers.