2005, Margarita Kokla, "Semantic Interoperability in Geographic Information Science" Print


Title: Semantic Interoperability in Geographic Information Science


Author: Margarita Kokla




The topic of the present dissertation is semantic interoperability in Geographic Information Science based on the ability to integrate existing geographic ontologies. Progress in this research field is vital to an effective cooperation of heterogeneous systems - a cooperation which is based on the meaning of the information to be exchanged and not just on the formalism used. Towards this objective, the critical dimensions of the topic were thoroughly investigated and presented. A unified framework was then developed which helps to evaluate existing integration approaches but furthermore, to develop the methodology of the current approach. This framework consists of three important sub-processes: (a) the definition of a semantic reference system with relations and properties, which essentially describe geographic concepts. The related semantic information is then extracted from structured text (concept definitions) using natural language processing, (b) the concept comparison, identification and reconciliation of semantic conflicts, and (c) the actual ontology integration using the theory of Formal Concept Analysis which results in an integrated ontology expressed as a concept lattice. The integration process does not distort the resource ontologies. The effectiveness of the new approach was repeatedly tested using a number of real geographic ontologies in several integration tasks, and the results were very satisfactory. The approach may find application in the exchange and integration of ontologies maintained by different organizations with varying mandates, perspective, context and level of analysis. It may also be used to associate ontologies evolving though time. Finally, a number of new important research issues are presented. Their effective undertaking is of utmost importance, for it will facilitate context-based access to semantically rich geographic information.


Completion year: 2005


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