ARIES for SEEA Explorera tool for rapid natural capital accounting!
Access the Explorer
ARIES for SEEA can be accessed in two different ways: using a web browser or using ARIES’ k.LAB software. Please see our guide to accessing the Explorer.
After registration, users can access the web-based version of ARIES in the following languages:
- ARIES for SEEA Factsheet – English, Spanish and French
- SEEA News & Notes article: ARIES for SEEA: Rapid generation of natural capital accounts
- Video presentation from the 2020 Forum of Experts on Ecosystem Accounting
Behold the evolution of the ARIES for SEEA Explorer with our Updates Section!
Users are encouraged to provide feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ARIES platform offers consistent hosting of data and models, naming conventions, and quality assurance rules, thereby ensuring that data and models are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) by all. The ARIES for SEEA Explorer application takes this a step further, by enabling users anywhere in the world to produce rapid, standardized, scalable and customizable ecosystem accounts for their area of interest that are consistent with the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting framework. ARIES for SEEA is available on the UN Global Platform, a cloud-service platform supporting international collaboration in the development of official statistics using new data sources and innovative methods.
What does it do?
Easy-to-use and readily available, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer lowers the barriers to compiling ecosystem accounts. The application can generate ecosystem accounts for any user-specified terrestrial area in the world (such as a country, administrative region, watershed, etc.), by using freely available global remote-sensing derived data and models, and rapidly computes these accounts online, using a web browser.
The current Explorer functionalities are restricted to assessing ecosystem 1. extent (based on the IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology), 2. condition (for forest ecosystem types), and 3. selected ecosystem services in physical and monetary units using basic models as a starting point. The outcomes can be analyzed and downloaded to further explore the results (either through a spreadsheet or GIS software).
The Explorer automatically generates a comprehensive ecosystem accounts report, fully documenting the process. Using the format of a standard scientific publication, the report includes text and figures (tables, maps, model diagrams), full references for data, models, and methods. Users can therefore have a complete picture of the models, coefficients and data used, chosen using machine reasoning (see below), which provides a basis to modify their queries further as they see fit.
How does it work?
Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) – specifically semantics and machine reasoning – the ARIES for SEEA Explorer automates data and model integration, providing rapid, intelligently assembled, and transparently reported accounts. A core component of ARIES is a set of consistent semantics, which defines the concepts describing each scientific data and model element, and relationships between them, using an intuitive language readable by both people and computers (for example, different elevation or land cover datasets, or hydrologic models, are consistently labelled with clear, uniform, and unambiguous descriptors).
When semantics are applied to data and models shared on the web, these resources become interoperable, with ARIES’ AI system able to select the most appropriate data and models for the location and spatiotemporal scale of interest to a user. The ARIES for SEEA Explorer thus combines user requests with a global network of data and models to assemble, compile, and report results for needed accounts. For more “under the hood” details about ARIES, see the Integrated Modelling Partnership.
The Explorer thus automates model selection based on a user’s specific request. It chooses the “most appropriate” model for the location, spatiotemporal resolution and account specified (e.g., an ecosystem service or condition account for a given country and year). Using ARIES’ predefined syntax and large number of web-hosted global, national, and local datasets and models, the tool generates the best-available model results for the specified problem, given the models and data sources accessible to the system. Users can also share their own data sources and models on ARIES-compatible networks, making these contributions reusable by future SEEA account compilers. Efforts are underway to collaborate with the developers of existing models and data sources to make them interoperable and reusable in the context of ARIES.
The functionalities of the ARIES for SEEA Explorer will be continuously improved and expanded. Plans are already in place to add additional ecosystem types to the extent accounts; expand the selection of ecosystem types covered in the condition accounts, such as grassland condition accounts; and include additional ecosystem services, such as water supply and flood regulation. Pending interest from the global community, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer could also be tailored to support the compilation of ocean accounts. The SEEA News and Notes will report periodically as new updates become available.
Users will also be able to add their own datasets through a simple drag-and-drop function of the interface, which will allow to improve the quality of the accounts by making local/national data even easier to incorporate into the ARIES for SEEA Explorer. The same users can decide how accessible these additional datasets should be: they can restrict them for their internal use, or share them with the community for wider reuse.
Finally, the ARIES for SEEA Explorer will support compilation of selected SEEA Central Framework accounts.
Accessing ARIES for SEEA
New users should first register by creating a user profile on the Integrated Modelling Hub: https://integratedmodelling.org/hub/#/register.
During registration, users provide a username and email to create your profile (no password is required at this stage).
After creating a profile, users can access the main Integrated Modelling hub page (https://integratedmodelling.org/hub/#/home). Here users can find more information on how to get started, check/modify the information in their profile (https://integratedmodelling.org/hub/#/profile/view), change their password, and download both the user certificate (always required to run the k.LAB Control Center software) and the stand alone k.LAB software (optional).
ARIES for SEEA can be accessed in two different ways: any web browser or the k.LAB software.
Moving towards interoperability
The ARIES for SEEA Explorer is part of the ongoing strategy aiming towards ambitious yet achievable goals for data and model interoperability in the SEEA community. The interoperability strategy will describe the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders (data providers, research and model developers, and platform hosts) to support global SEEA Ecosystem Accounting implementation.
The ARIES for SEEA Explorer was developed by the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) under the EU-funded Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project, which is jointly implemented by the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).