Re: A DAML Spatial Ontology

From: Adam Pease (
Date: 03/06/03

  • Next message: Austin Tate: "DAML-Spatial Primitives"
       Teknowledge would certainly be interested in participating.  There's a 
    good deal of material in our Suggested Upper Merged Ontology (SUMO) as well 
    as in the Terrain Ontology that extends SUMO, that should be 
    relevant.  Both are freely available from 
    <>.  We expect to release a number of 
    additional extensions in the coming months.
    At 12:28 PM 3/6/2003 -0800, Jerry Hobbs wrote:
    >This is a message I sent out about a month ago to a haphazard list of
    >people (basically, the people whose email addresses I had at hand).
    >The present message is an attempt to send it to a more complete set of
    >the appropriate people.
    >You probably all know about the DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML),
    >DARPA's contribution to bringing the Semantic Web into reality.  As
    >part of that project, some of us have been developing ontologies, not
    >necessarily as standards, but as resources that can be used for a wide
    >variety of purposes.  Two efforts so far have concerned services
    >(DAML-S: and time (DAML-Time:
    >  They are at different
    >stages of maturity.  DAML-S has been under development for two years
    >and DAML-Time for one.
    >When I talked about the DAML-Time ontology at the last DAML meeting,
    >Murray Burke (DARPA program manager) 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
    >         information.
    >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, especially about things that
    >are missing.
    >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 applications, 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.  As with DAML-Time, the strategy
    >would be to construct an abstract ontology in first-order logic, and
    >implement whatever part of that can be implemented in the DAML of the
    >Let me know if you would be interested in participating in such an
    >effort, at least as far as tracking the email.  But in fact, I will
    >keep you on the list unless you send me a message to remove you.
    >An archived mail list has been set up to facilitate discussion related
    >to geo-spatial ontologies. The archive is at
    >To subscribe to the mailing list, send an email message to
    > with the text "subscribe daml-spatial" in the body
    >of the message.
    >If you can think of other people who should be involved, send me their
    >names and email addresses, and/or forward this to them.
    >Please 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 ontology.  Also if you think any of your papers
    >would aid in this effort and might otherwise be missed, please feel
    >free to send pointers to them.
    >-- Jerry Hobbs

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