Spatial Semantics for Automating Geographic Information Processes

Theme number: 4
Theme leaders: Femke Reitsma, Werner Kuhn, Alia Abdelmoty
Duration:1 January, 2007 - 31 December, 2007
Wiki:http://wiki.esi.ac.uk/Spatial_Semantics_for_Automating_Geographic_Information_Processes

Up to 80% of information is spatially referenced in some way, yet the latent semantics of that information mean it is often unusable without expert interpretation. “Semantics” refers to the meaning of the geographic information, such as the type of information it is, what real world things it represents (e.g. buildings, land cover, rivers), and what the spatial relationships and characteristics of those things are (e.g. that one building is north of another).

Expressing the semantics of geographic data in computable form will enhance data and knowledge discovery, improve the integration of different types of spatial information, support data harmonisation, enable automated procedures for processing, analysing and visualising geographic information and ultimately facilitate decision making for e-Science. The array of applications of this research is incredibly broad, as geographic information is ubiquitous in many aspects of our current information society.
We have three focussed projects to develop and test this research. These comprise case studies in modelling interoperability, data and resource integration and data harmonisation. This theme aims to formalise the semantics of geographical data, to improve data integration, support automated reasoning, and enable cross-disciplinary scientific computing. Such formalisation is critical for doing large scale scientific computing that crosses disciplines which involve geographically dispersed resources, expertise and knowledge, and is essential to furthering collaborative e-Science projects involving geographic information.

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