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Ontology-supported Querying of Geographical Databases

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Querying geographical information systems has been recognized as a difficult task for non-expert users. Furthermore, user queries are often characterized by semantic aspects not directly managed by traditional spatial databases or GIS. Examples of such semantic geospatial queries are the use of implicit spatial relations between objects, or the reference of domain concepts not explicitly represented in data. To handle such queries, we envisage a system that translates natural language queries into spatial SQL statements on a database, thus improving standard GIS with new semantic capabilities. Within this general objective, the contribution of this article is to introduce a methodology to handle semantic geospatial queries issued over a spatial database. This approach captures semantics from an ontology built upon the spatial database and enriched by domain concepts and properties specifically defined to represent the localization of objects. Some examples of the use of the methodology in the urban domain are presented.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: KDDLab Computer Science Department University of Pisa 2: ILC-CNR, Pisa 3: KDDLab ISTI-CNR, Pisa

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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