A bridge between GIS and Semantic Web based solutions
Most of the human daily life actions start with information gathering and processing. This step usually involve searching answers to the five common questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? However, the range of data that have to be analyzed might vary, depending on the context of current action. Moreover, because of the heterogeneity and different nature of data sources, this analysis might be not trivial. Therefore many efforts were taken to simplify and automate the data processing and information retrieval.
Semantic Web technologies provide methods for structuring data and making them understandable for computers. They are the backbones of knowledge bases, which can be processed with the aid of information retrieval tools and inference engines. They are well suited for answering the questions Who? and What? But in the semantic domain much more troubles are caused by the questions Where? and When? related to the space and time. Spatial data analysis is performed well in GIS, which supports arithmetic calculations and offers spatial operators implementations. The same type of operations is harder to implement in the systems that are based on descriptive logic, allow integration with other semantically described resources and offer inference engines. This problem motivated the authors to design and implement SemGeo – a software solution described later.
SemGeo is a software solution that creates a bridge between GIS and systems built with the aid of Semantic Web technologies. The list of its functions include:
- semantical representation of features stored in PostGIS,
- generation of semantical topology description of features,
- RDF/XML serialization of spatial and semanic data,
- possibility of semantic and spatial data integration,
- support of SPARQL spatial querries,
- support of GeoSPARQL and NeoGeo Spatial ontologies.