RE: A DAML Spatial Ontology

From: mburke (
Date: 01/23/03


My thanks to Jerry Hobbs for getting this started.  I encourage your
participation as appropriate.  I believe spatial/geo-spatial reasoning
along with temporal reasoning to be an essential component of most military

Murray A. Burke
Program Manager
3701 N. Fairfax Drive		Phone: 703-696-2303
Arlington, VA 22203-1714	Fax:     571-218-4550

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Hobbs [mailto:hobbs@ISI.EDU] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 1:49 PM
To:;; mburke;;;;;;;;;; knoblock@ISI.EDU; macgregor@ISI.EDU; russ@ISI.EDU;
Subject: A DAML Spatial Ontology

When I talked about the DAML-Time ontology
( at the last DAML meeting,
Murray Burke said it would be great for some people to get together
and do a DAML-Space ontology as well.  This message is an attempt to
organize such an effort.

The aim of this ontology would not be to drive out any other work on
spatial ontologies, but to provide a way for different spatial
reasoning engines and spatial resources to communicate with each
other, as well as a way for people to mark up the spatial information
on their web sites.  The goals of the effort would be to produce an
ontology that would

    1.  Enable general, though not necessarily efficient, reasoning
	about spatial concepts.

    2.  Link with more efficient specialized reasoning engines for
	spatial reasoning.

    3.  Link with the numerous databases that exist containing a
	wealth of specific, e.g., geographical, spatial information. 

    4.  Support convenient query capabilities for spatial

The topics we would want to cover include the following (where I've
listed the corresponding topics that DAML-Time covers):

	Space				Time
        -----				----

        Topological relations		Topological relations
	  (e.g., RCC8)			  (e.g., interval algebra)

	Dimension			--

	Shape				--

	Length, area and volume		Duration

	Latitude, longitude, elevation  Clock and calendar

	Political subdivisions		--

Please feel free to comment on this list.

Much of the work will be focused on geographical knowledge, but the
intent is not to restrict ourselves to this domain alone.  Topological
spatial relations are important in microbiology, for example.  Other
application areas that have been suggested are the geology of
earthquakes, NASA application, computer graphics, and virtual reality.

Of course to do a thorough spatial ontology is an immense job.  I
think we can restrict what we need to do by limiting ourselves to
_linking_ with resources, rather than _duplicating_ them.  For
example, we would want to be able to interface with a resource on the
shapes of geographical regions, but we would not need to encode its
internal representations.

As with DAML-Time, the aim would be to construct an ontology that
accomodates many perspectives on controversial issues rather than
forces a particular perspective.

Let me know if you would be interested in participating in such an
effort, as least as far as tracking the email.  Also suggest any
research and applications you think should be taken into account.  It
would also be extremely helpful to develop a set of challenge problems
of varying levels of difficulty to help drive the development of the 

This message is being sent to a rather haphazard set of people, so
please feel free to forward it to anyone else you think appropriate.

-- Jerry Hobbs

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