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Re: homework: Personal Travel "Agent"

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 02:26:20 -0600
Message-ID: <3C049FAC.394EE62C@w3.org>
To: Mike Dean <mdean@bbn.com>
CC: www-webont-wg@w3.org
Mike Dean wrote:
> I hope [...] to automate tasks such as those related to
> business travel.

Wow... we have a lot in common; I've been working on
similar stuff...

> When I make a reservation, my corporate travel agent emails
> my itinerary in a format that I consider a canonical example
> of the "un-Semantic Web":  a PDF image of a traditional
> FAXed itinerary.  This prints well, but is virtually
> impossible for a program to process.

Ouch. Our travel agent gave us plaintext ASCII itineraries
that clearly came from a database; I made numerous
errors trying to eyeball them to see if they met the
various constraints I had agreed with my wife;
finally, I got fed up and wrote a perl script
to scrape it into RDF...


and wrote the constraints down as rules, and got
our rules engine to tell me which proposed itinerary
met the rules and which didn't.

>  I'd prefer to get this
> content using WebOnt, and to have it automatically routed to
> a personal travel agent program.  I'd like to automatically
> share some of my itinerary information (e.g. travel dates
> and arrival times) with my co-workers, but keep some of it
> (e.g. credit card numbers) private.

I've done some of that with our rules engine; nothing
that generalizes much, unfortunately.
But I did RDF-ize my palmpilot and export a work-view
based on rules.

> While I travel, I'd like to have fast access to my itinerary
> using a utility like PalmDAML [1] on my PDA.

I wrote some rules to translate my itinerary from
the navigant vocabulary to my palm vocabulary.


It was a happy day when my itinerary went from the
travel agent to my palm pilot WITHOUT any
manual re-keying or copy/pasting!

> When I return from a trip, I have to fill-out an Excel
> spreadsheet for my expense report.  Most of this information
> could come directly from my itinerary, hotel bills, and
> credit card receipts if they were provided in WebOnt format.

I've done two or three RDF-based expense reports.

One strategy is to put the stuff in quicken, export it,
convert the quicken export to RDF, and go from there.

Another is to put the stuff in a stylized HTML trip
report and extract RDF from that.

Both of these involve a substantial amount
of manual re-keying. Not good.

But at least I only key the stuff in once, rather
than separately for expense report, again for
personal accounting.

> I already have a DAML application [2] for reconciling my
> expense reports with my credit card statements and checking
> account.

Cool! I haven't separated my data from the code in
my expense apps yet, so I haven't made it available.

> A few observations:
> 1) most of this information (flight schedules, travel
>    itineraries, hotel addresses, expense reports, etc.) is
>    not ontologically sophisticated

Hmm... timezones are a pretty thorny problem, I find.

> 2) much of the information is already available in
>    human-readable form
> 3) automation currently exists only in specific stovepipes
>    such as United's new Flight Paging Service

indeed! argh!

> 4) even a highly-motivated geek finds it impractical to
>    merge the existing information
> 5) with widespread use of WebOnt, we should be able to do
>    most of these things pretty easily

Here's hoping...

>         Mike
> [1] http://www.daml.org/PalmDAML/
> [2] http://www.daml.org/2001/06/expenses/

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Wednesday, 28 November 2001 03:26:21 UTC

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