Ontolog Forum

Abstract for Space, Time, Knowledge - From Semantic Heterogeneity to Semantic Interoperability by Krzysztof Janowicz

Geographic feature types do not exist a priori but are created in an act of cognition and social convention. The decision of how to partition fields of sensory input depends on context, e.g., cultural background, age & language, previous knowledge and goals, but most importantly on space and time. Therefore, the conceptualization of our environment varies leading to semantic heterogeneity. This diversity, however, should not be misunderstood as a burden that needs to be resolved. Information communities conceptualize geographic space in different ways for good reasons and, hence, developing a monolithic top-down ontology for geographic feature types could be best described as conceptualization oligarchy. Instead, we should account for the changing and local nature of feature types. Preserving such heterogeneities, however, hinders semantic interoperability between different communities and data sources on the Web. With the advent of Linked Spatiotemporal Data, the need for local ontologies and mappings between them will even increase. In this talk we outline the involves challenge and give insights on how to address them using paradigms form knowledge engineering such as microtheories, image schemata, and affordances, as well as reasoning services such as similarity-based retrieval.