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RFC on 'Semantic Web Locationary'

From: Pipian <pipian@pipian.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 17:30:06 -0500
Message-Id: <195FE3A1-609B-4AED-87E9-1B6037A94427@pipian.com>
To: semantic-web@w3.org

A first post I know, but now that the code and data for this project  
is finally somewhat stable I wanted to see what people think of this  
mash-up application for basic geospatial semantic web work (which is  
to say that it's all 'there' if not accessible and completely fleshed  

A beta version of what I've dubbed 'the Semantic Web Locationary' is  
available at the URL http://www.pipian.com/rdf/places/

The Locationary is designed partially as a unification effort for the  
purposes of unifying wide-spread semantic content of geopolitical  
divisions and population centers (particularly countries and first- 
order administrative subdivisions), rather than geographic entities  
in general (for the time being.

Its primary original sources of material include the CIA World  
Factbook, ISO 3166, Debian isocodes package, and the UN/LOCODE  
database.  Granted, this makes it relatively simple and examples of  
these separately are all out there (e.g. those linked from http:// 
www.daml.org/2001/09/countries/webscriptercolor.html and the entire  
geonames.org web service), though to my knowledge, no one (except  
perhaps geonames.org in their human-unreadable format) has linked all  
three concepts (countries, subdivisions, and cities) for easy static  
cross-reference in both a 'geopolitical ownership' and 'geographical  
hierarchy' notation, though the latter is admittedly more subjective  
than objective.

It's pieced together with pre-existing ontologies (though I can't say  
that one or two would be nicer if they were removed and 'redone' with  
another ontology) such as WAIL (http://www.eyrie.org/~zednenem/2002/ 
wail/) parts of SWEET (http://sweet.jpl.nasa.gov/ontology/), and a  
little bit of the 'Core Communications' ontology (http:// 
dbpubs.stanford.edu:8091/diglib/ginf/1999/05/26-core-comm#) for the  
purposes of offering a semantic interpretation of the web service  
response (since the data is not static)

Being a web service, I understand the need to differentiate the  
intended target from the actual response, and thus added rdf:IDs to  
the documents to differentiate the subject material of the document  
from the document as subject.  This of course is something of a mixed  
message that doesn't seem to have an accepted solution as yet (or am  
I mistaken these days and a consensus has arisen?)

There's some more critiques of the failings I already recognize in  
the system at the primary website (http://www.pipian.com/rdf/ 
places/), but otherwise, it should be both rudimentarily human- 
navigable (for those with browsers with XSLT support) and machine- 
navigable for any reasonable query (English mostly at this time, with  
the exception of countries, which have considerably more accurate  
foreign name data from the Debian iso-codes package).

That being said, I want to see what other people have to say about  
the service and how well/poorly I mashed up these ontologies (I  
particularly wonder about SWEET, as I'm a bit unclear how the  
owl:imports property in those definitions should be properly  


Ian Jacobi
Received on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 08:08:53 UTC

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