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Geo-Pragmatics for the Geospatial Semantic Web

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Geo-Pragmatics is introduced here as an enhanced representation for ontologies in which geospatial, geographical and geoscientific concepts are not only defined, but their pragmatic context is also captured and potentially reasoned with. A framework for representing such context is developed using three core aspects: dimensions, agents and roles. Dimensions consist of a concept's origins, uses and effects; these are generated by the interaction of human, machine and natural agents, and involve entities with roles developed from method-driven perspectives and epistemic-driven versions. The relationship between these core aspects is explored conceptually and implications for geoscientific ontologies are discussed, including identification of a basic ontological type, the situated concept, whose meaning is defined by its geographical-historical context. Geo-pragmatics should help geoscientists evaluate the scientific merit, and fitness for scientific use, of geoscientific ontologies in emerging e-science initiatives.

Keywords: Semantic web; geoscience; geospatial ontologies; pragmatics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Geological Survey of Canada Ottawa, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2007


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