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The Automated Land Evaluation System, or ALES, is a computer program that allows land evaluators to build expert systems to evaluate land according to the method presented in the Food and Agriculture Organization "Framework for Land Evaluation" (FAO 1976). It is intended for use in project or regional scale land evaluation. The entities evaluated by ALESare map units, which may be defined either broadly (as e.g. in reconnaissance surveys and general feasibility studies) or narrowly (as e.g. in detailed resource surveys and farm-scale planning). Since each model is built by a different evaluator to satisfy local needs, there is no fixed list of land use requirements by which land uses are evaluated, and no fixed list of land characteristics from which land qualities are inferred. Instead, these lists are determined by the evaluator to suit local conditions and objectives.
To reiterate the key point:
Evaluators build their own expert systems with ALES, taking into account local conditions and objectives. ALES is not by itself an expert system, and does not include by itself any knowledge about land and land use. ALES is a framework within which evaluators can express their own, local, knowledge.
ALES has seven components:
ALES is not a GIS and does not display maps. It can, however, analyze geographic land characteristics if map units are appropriate defined, and it can directly reclassify IDRISI maps or Arc/Info Attribute Tables with the same mapping unit legend as the ALES database.
The program is highly interactive, and takes advantage of the PC video display and keyboard. It is designed to be self-explanatory, and leads the user through a series of menus, data entry forms, 'why?' explanations, and dialogues, as well as context-sensitive help screens. Function keys control most operations.
The program user can choose to interact with ALES in any human language to which the display text has been translated:
Special attention has been given to the creation, editing, and display of decision trees, which are the way in which the evaluator express expert knowledge about the relation between land and land uses In addition, model builders can write their own notes ('annotations') that can be displayed by the model user to explain the model builder's reasoning.
ALES runs on almost any Intel/DOS-compatible PC. Click here to see ALES' System Requirements.
Last Updated: 2010_307