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S. Boucher. Leveraging Semantic Technologies for Geo-Database Interoperability. In Proceedings of the GeoWeb 2008 Conference: Local to Global, Vancouver, Canada, July 2008.

Abstract

Interoperating complex databases built on heterogeneous schemas designed for different problem domains might be the most challenging problem facing the GIS community today. Despite numerous research efforts, current solutions still require too much manual work to make all but the least ambitious integration projects practical. An innovative way to solve this problem has been developed at Brussels Free University, in collaboration with IONIC software, leveraging GML, WFS and Semantic Web technologies such as OWL to allow seamless conversion between geographical databases based on arbitrary schemas and physical hierarchy. By building ontologies describing the semantics of each geographical database and feeding these ontologies into proprietary algorithms, we can build a schema-abstraction middleware that allows data from any database in the system to be expressed in whatever schema is best suited to the present purpose. Our system allows an arbitrary number of product formats to interoperate without manually constructing translation algorithms and without resorting to a common pivot format. Our approach offers dramatic advantages over the current state of the art on geographical interoperability, significantly reducing the effort involved in providing seamless access to numerous databases.


Updated: 2017-03-27