and improving understanding: The Management of Semantics for Geospatial
is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we
have lost in information? --T.S. Eliot, The Rock, 1934.
of geospatial information is constructed, shaped and changed by the
interaction of people and systems. But this interaction is not captured,
and information becomes separated from the context by which it is
given meaning. Information is often constructed incrementally, with
successive communities or individuals adding to or modifying meaning
through a series of different processes. Those not directly involved
in the creation or uncovering of information may not share in this
evolving schema fully, neither is its essence conveyed in the existing
data models of the systems in which the information resides.
proposes a novel research program to establish a semantic framework
for managing the meaning associated with geospatial information. The
framework will describe the content and various transformations that
the geospatial information undergoes, thereby facilitating better
understanding, improving communication and promoting best practice
in bringing geospatial information to bear. The development of such
a framework is described, along with associated rules and knowledge
structures to oversee the transformation and interpretation processes.
A design for such a framework is outlined. A visual interface to the
semantic framework is also proposed, so that its content and meaning
are accessible in a form that is readily assimilated. The resulting
semantically-enriched geospatial infrastructure will improve data
exchange and interoperability between systems, and advance collaboration
between human analysts and information users. The framework will associate
data with an explicit context that describes its meaning, thereby
facilitating its interpretation and application. In short-turning
data into information.
major outcomes are as follows:
A multi-perspective account of the needs for, and uses of, semantically-oriented
geospatial knowledge, with examples drawn from application domains
and real-world problems.
An analysis of the common threads of semantics, conflicts of meaning
and schemata, underlying representational models, assumptions and
constraints that 'color' the application of geospatial data and can
A prototype framework for geospatial semantic representation that
will be represented within a machine as a series of collaborating
agents acting together to oversee workflows and information exchange,
and also within a visualization environment in a graphical form.
Feedback and collaboration with the OGC and specifically their 'Semantics
and Information Community Special Interest Group', thus helping to
shape the international research and development agenda in this area.
Specific case studies to establish proof of concept and generality
of the framework. A team of highly qualified researchers are included
in this proposal, comprising academics from computer science, geographic
information science and geography, an expert in geological interoperability
and the chief scientist of the Open GIS Consortium (OGC).
the abstract to another paper presented at GIScience 2000: The First
International Conference on Geographic Information Science. Univerrsity
of California Regents, Savannah, GA, Oct. 28-31, 2000. Authors: Gahegan,
M., Brodaric, B. and Takatsuka, M.. Designing
a framework to support the semantic interoperability of geospatial