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How do I use ARIES?

ARIES aims to put sophisticated modeling capabilities at the fingertips of non-technical users, practitioners and decision makers. It is meant to be usable by anyone with enough experience to read and interpret its results following intuitive workflows consistent with what users normally experience while browsing the Web. At the same time, ARIES runs on one of the most sophisticated modeling platforms in existence, which allows modelers to benefit from a full suite of existing, reusable model and data components accessible through open-source modeling tools and paradigms.

The user side of ARIES is a web interface we call the ARIES Explorer, which can now be downloaded in early release form, and launched from the k.LAB Control Center. Progressively more advanced versions of the ARIES Explorer will be continually released, with new features and models becoming available, so check back often for updates!

The modeler side of ARIES is also run from the k.LAB Control Center, but is an integrated development environment that provides server software for network nodes and modeling engines, and client interfaces that allow users to access the ARIES network, develop models, and annotate data. All existing ARIES content has been developed using these tools and the k.IM semantic modeling language. The k.LAB interfaces allow users to do everything that the ARIES Explorer can and much more, but they require relatively intensive training and experience to be learned and used. This site does not document the k.LAB infrastructure; its documentation is being developed at our sister site, integratedmodelling.org.

So how do you use ARIES today? While anyone can download and use the ARIES Explorer, your best bet is to attend one of our trainings, where we teach use of the tools and the basics of semantically integrated modeling to audiences from all over the world. If you have relatively extensive experience with computers and modeling, and are not afraid to try something radically new, you can try the k.LAB Modeler. The Modeler toolkit does not guide you to do ecosystem services assessments, nor contain a menu of models you can run. It is a fully general model development environment, meant to provide access to the network and to specialized tools to create and test your own projects. So it is best used by modelers who are well trained in the underlying concepts of semantic modeling or can grasp them easily. If this is you, or you like a challenge, the the steps below will get you running.

  1. Obtain your credentials with the integratedmodelling.org network at our Hub. Registration is free for individual and non-profit use, and your data are secure and completely private (more information on the legal matters is available). Your credentials will also allow you access to our wiki space, our issue reporting site, and, with authorization, this site so you can comment on posts and guest blog with us.
  2. Let us know. Your access to the network is limited unless we authorize you to use the ARIES data and models. If your usage of the network is for non-profit purposes, you will never have to pay for access, but we need to know.
  3. Download an integratedmodelling.org certificate file from your user profile at our Hub, and store it on your computer.
  4. Download the client version of the k.LAB integrated development environment and follow installation instructions.

At this point you will likely have many questions. You can start browsing the knowledge base in our wiki space, or better, come to one of our trainings. Most important, get in touch. We are few and busy, but we try to respond to anyone who has a serious interest. Look for news about the ARIES explorer on this page.

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