Analyzing Theme, Space, and Time: An Ontology-based Approach

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The W3C’s Semantic Web Activity is illustrating the use of semantics for information integration, search, and analysis. However, the majority of the work in this community has focused more on the thematic aspects of information and has paid less attention to its spatial and temporal dimensions. In this paper, we present an integrative ontology-based framework incorporating the thematic, spatial, and temporal dimensions of information. This framework is built around the RDF metadata model. Our ultimate goal is to provide an information system which allows searching and analysis of relationships in any or all of the three dimensions of space, time, and theme. Toward this end, we present an upper-level ontology combining concepts and relationships from both the thematic and spatial dimensions and show how to incorporate temporal semantics into this ontology. We also introduce the notion of a thematic context linking entities of differing dimensions and define a set of query operators built upon these contexts.


This paper was presented at the Fourteenth International Symposium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM-GIS '06), Arlington, VA, November 10 - 11, 2006.



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