Framework for measuring the interoperability of geo-ontologies

Frederico Fonseca, Gilberto Câmara, Antonio Miguel Monteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Interoperability is a crucial problem for geographic information systems. The transfer of data and models between different systems requires the ability to set up a correspondence between concepts in one system to concepts in the other. Concept matching is helped by ontologies. However, the challenge of making ontologies themselves interoperable continues. In other words, given two geo-ontologies, the basic question is: to which degree are these two geo-ontologies interoperable? In this paper, we consider that a geo-ontology describes things that can be assigned to locations on the surface of the Earth and relations between these things. A geo-ontology has concepts that correspond to physical and social phenomena in the real world. We suggest a classification of these concepts based on their use for describing geo-objects. We present a basic set of concepts for a geographical ontology, based on descriptions of the physical world and of the social reality. We also present a framework for measuring the degree of interoperability between geo-ontologies. We consider that this problem is a special case of Bernstein's model management algebra for metadata descriptions. We propose to use a matching operator for measuring interoperability between ontologies. The proposed framework provides a first basis for computational tools that allow a more precise response to problem of ontology interoperability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-331
Number of pages23
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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