Ontolog Forum

Session Synthesis
Duration 1 hour
Date/Time 30 Mar 2022 16:00 GMT
9:00am PDT/12:00pm EDT
5:00pm BST/6:00pm CEST
Convener Ravi Sharma
Track Pandemics

Ontology Summit 2022 Synthesis

Dealing with Disasters

The COVID-19 pandemic as well as other pandemics and disasters have prompted an impressive, worldwide response by governments, industry, and the academic community. Ontologies can play a significant role in search, data description, interoperability and harmonization of the increasingly large data sources that are relevant to disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ontology Summit 2022 examined the overall landscape of disasters and related ontologies. A framework consisting of a set of dimensions was developed to characterize this landscape. The framework was applied to health-related disasters, environmental disasters, as well as aerospace and cyberspace disasters. It was found that there are many cross-domain linkages between different kinds of disasters and that ontologies developed for one kind of disaster can be repurposed for other kinds. A representative sample of projects that have been developing and using ontologies for disaster monitoring and response management is presented to illustrate best practices and lessons learned. The Communiqué ends by presenting the findings and recommendations of the summit.


  • 12:00 - 12:10 EDT Ken Baclawski Pandemics Track Summary Slides
  • 12:10 - 12:30 EDT Synthesis Discussion
  • 12:30 - 13:00 EDT Matthew West, OBE Whence Disasters
  • Video Recording

Conference Call Information

  • Date: Wednesday, 30 Mar 2022
  • Start Time: 9:00am PDT / 12:00pm EDT / 6:00pm CEST / 5:00pm BST / 1600 UTC
    • ref: World Clock
    • Note: The US and Canada are both on Daylight Saving Time.
  • Expected Call Duration: 1 hour
  • The Video Conference URL is
    • Meeting ID: 881 4427 2329
    • Passcode: 553714
  • Chat Room:
    • If the chat room is not available, then use the Zoom chat room.
  • One tap mobile



[12:12] RaviSharma: Welcome everyone to the synthesis session and a talk by Dr. Matthew West.

[12:16] RaviSharma: Dr West talks about value of information - disasters are caused by lack of information?

[12:17] RaviSharma: What difference would info make?

[12:17] RaviSharma: Notes:

[12:18] RaviSharma: Volcano erupting, no one in 100 miles, nature does its work, but same in population, then it is disaster only when it has bad impact.

[12:19] RaviSharma: Missions got impacted due to mismatch in units, therefore software caused disaster.

[12:21] RaviSharma: Humans and bio disasters and info mgmt. Was weather forecast ignored? information used! and policy town affected by volcano, not to build town at all there at location.

[12:21] Todd Schneider: Don't conflate the existence of information and its communication.

[12:22] RaviSharma: If we do not have enough info, then overall impact can be hard to predict - trivial to huge impact.

[12:22] RaviSharma: Re Covid what would I need?

[12:23] RaviSharma: Apt in London fire and 72 people lost live.

[12:23] RaviSharma: Found impact on similar structures.

[12:24] RaviSharma: Tower blocks greater than 6 stories and evac speeds

[12:25] RaviSharma: Real question is about transparency, usually info is not transparent, also not enough testing.

[12:25] RaviSharma: Need for right info could avoid disaster.

[12:26] RaviSharma: Rectification would be in billions of pounds.

[12:28] Ken Baclawski: @Todd Schneider Does "communication" include deliberate miscommunication?

[12:29] RaviSharma: How we access all available info. Does your architecture suggest a common way for all types of disasters?

[12:30] RaviSharma: Notes: grounded in top level ontology

[12:33] Todd Schneider: 'miscommunication' is subjective; 'Communication' - (noun) the imparting or exchanging of information or news

[12:33] RaviSharma: How do you sift relevance? from siloed of data storage?

[12:36] RaviSharma: How about new disasters, that require new info based on spread like pandemic?

[12:36] RaviSharma: How can Digital twin help?

[12:38] RaviSharma: Are there more than one category, where known risks exist and other where it is new, so how differently would we organize the info in two cases?

[12:40] RaviSharma: Excellent summary presented by Ken of different sessions and especially of the common aspects addressed by different speakers and also what given speaker did not cover in a composite list of what was addressed or identified, like a framework!

[12:48] Gary BC: @Ken add the OGC disaster info to your start on Synthesis slides along with Mark Fox's points on "City Data Standard for Public Health Emergencies".

[12:52] RaviSharma: Matthew to Todd information needs to go to those who need it?

[12:55] Gary BC: For our synthesis we can have an Intro section discussing some of the concepts involved in the meaning of disasters. This leads to the UN DRR efforts as an useful step to try some standardizations. Like everything else there may be nuances that the vocabularies and formalized models may miss initially.

[12:55] RaviSharma: Digital twins sharing data created mostly for local use, sharing problem?

[12:56] Janet Singer: Synthesis relating disasters and ontologies: need both quality information that is fit-for-purpose, and appropriate automation to get the most out of the information (including getting to right decision makers at the right time). Details include 1) monitoring and measurement 2) modeling to predict and assess risks 3) appropriate communication channels

[12:57] Gary BC: Part of our later discussion may address some of the issues on data models and sharing which require some harmonization without which a standard may be a hindrance because it is not trusted.


Previous Meetings

ConferenceCall 2022 03 23Risk
ConferenceCall 2022 03 16Semantic Agents
ConferenceCall 2022 03 09Knowledge Graph Approach to Combat COVID-19
... further results

Next Meetings

ConferenceCall 2022 04 06ESIP Cross-Domain Collaboratory
ConferenceCall 2022 04 13KGs and Disaster Mitigation
ConferenceCall 2022 04 20Personal Emergency Management
... further results