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Revisiting the Concept of Geospatial Data Interoperability within the Scope of Human Communication Processes

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Geospatial data interoperability has been the target of major efforts by standardization bodies (e.g. OGC, ISO/TC 211) and the research community since the beginning of the 1990s. It is seen as a solution for sharing and integrating geospatial data, more specifically to solve the syntactic, schematic, and semantic as well as the spatial and temporal heterogeneities between various representations of real–world phenomena. A few models have been proposed to automatically overcome heterogeneity of geospatial data and, as a result, increase the interoperability of geospatial data. However, the addition of a conceptual framework of geospatial data interoperability would contribute to understanding geospatial data interoperability, the appreciation of where existing contributions specifically apply, and would foster new contributions. In this paper, we revisit the concept of geospatial data interoperability within the broader scope of human communication and cognition. Human communication appears to be a rich framework since humans interoperate more easily than computers do. Accordingly, we present a conceptual framework of geospatial data interoperability that is broader in scope than existing frameworks and supported by several practical examples. An ontology of geospatial data interoperability is also introduced in order to refine the description of the conceptual framework. In such a communication–based framework, the notions of concept, context, proximity, and ontology appear to be fundamental elements. These elements constitute a new approach to geosemantic proximity.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Natural Resources Canada Centre for Topographic Information and Centre for Research in Geomatics 2: Université Laval, Québec and Centre for Research in Geomatics

Publication date: March 1, 2003


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