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SSN/SOSA/O&M: is an observation an event, activity, or information object?

From: <Simon.Cox@csiro.au>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 22:41:46 +0000
To: <public-sdw-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <77f7dd652df94c0ea481f66a27b9a1ce@exch1-mel.nexus.csiro.au>
Kerry had asked me to discuss this in the SSN meeting today. We ran out of time, so here is a summary and some reading material.

There are a lot of links below, so if you only have time to look at one, probably make it this: https://goo.gl/TKlX1l (and "Read the full publication", which is just a set of slides).

The problem
The key concern is

*         SSN had the class "Observation" as a sub-class of dul:SocialObject. This is explicitly disjoint with dul:Event. So ssn:Observation appears to be a _record_ of an sensing activity, however

*         O&M http://portal.opengeospatial.org/files/41579 defined the concept:

act of measuring or otherwise determining the value of a property

and includes a class "Observation" which is introduced as follows:

7.1.2 Observation
An observation is an act associated with a discrete time instant or period through which a number, term or other
symbol is assigned to a phenomenon [2]. It involves application of a specified procedure, such as a sensor,
instrument, algorithm or process chain. The procedure may be applied in-situ, remotely, or ex-situ with respect
to the sampling location. The result of an observation is an estimate of the value of a property of some feature.

So the word "Observation" appears to be used for two different things in SSN and O&M - a record, or an activity or event, respectively.

Background resources
See a presentation I made at last year's AGU meeting "Pitfalls in alignment of observation models resolved using PROV as an upper ontology" - The presentation is on ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305809446_Pitfalls_in_alignment_of_observation_models_resolved_using_PROV_as_an_upper_ontology

I also discussed the issue in my Semantic Web Journal paper "Ontology for observations and sampling features, with alignments to existing models"
http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/system/files/swj1237.pdf - see particularly the discussion in section 5.

In turn, these leaned on a paper by Mick Compton, David Corsar and Kerry "Sensor Data Provenance: SSNO and PROV-O Together at Last" http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1401/paper-05.pdf

Implementation in SOSA
The initial SOSA-core took a related approach, with high-level classes for Procedure, Device, and Activity, which I introduced in an attempt to make the terminology around actuation, sensing and sampling consistent
- see this version of the SOSA wiki page https://www.w3.org/2015/spatial/wiki/index.php?title=SOSA_Ontology&oldid=2342

Subsequently this hierarchy has been removed from SOSA, partly because it was felt that SOSA-core was getting too big.
But I wonder if this has merely kicked the can down the road. For me sorting the procedures, devices and activities for observing/sensing, actuating, sampling into these groupings clarifies things, but perhaps that just means I'm a stamp-collector.

Issue tracker
This topic is in the tracker as

-          ISSUE-67: what is an ssn:observation https://www.w3.org/2015/spatial/track/issues/67
And these are closely related issues:

-          ISSUE-62: Align SSN with O&M https://www.w3.org/2015/spatial/track/issues/62

-          ISSUE-53: Align ssn with prov-o https://www.w3.org/2015/spatial/track/issues/53


From: Kerry Taylor [mailto:kerry.taylor@anu.edu.au]
Sent: Monday, 22 August 2016 11:03 PM
To: public-sdw-wg@w3.org
Subject: sdw: ssn meeting this week

Dear SDW,
For the SSN meeting this week  23 August 2016 21:00 UTC<http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20160823T21&ah=1&msg=SSN%20Call>, the agenda as follows is proposed.
Phil, Simon and Frans, please be prepared to lead respective topics with your name on it.  Frans - I can look after  action-111 if you are not present.

  1.  SSN: Issue tracking and public discussion (PhilA?)
  2.  UCR -- action-111 see https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-sdw-wg/2016Aug/0084.html (Frans?)
  3.  UCR - reviewing for SSN requirements issue-73 and https://www.w3.org/2016/08/17-sdw-minutes#item05 (Kerry)
  4.  SSN/SOSA/O&M: is an observation an event, activity, or information object? (Simon?)
  5.  Web of Things: joint meeting with oneM2M today https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-sdw-wg/2016Aug/0070.html
  6.  Web of Things: meet at Lisbon, possibly https://www.w3.org/wiki/TPAC2016/SessionIdeas

More info:  https://www.w3.org/2015/spatial/wiki/Meetings:SSN-Telecon20160823

Received on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 22:42:36 UTC

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