Ontologies

Ontologies are used to organize knowledge in a structured way. Construction of ontologies is performed manually. The building methods and their results may differ depending on the domain and application. To involve novice users being neither experts in a specific domain nor in ontology engineering, we propose a semi-automatically method for creating simple ontologies D4.3. In ENVISION, the Institute for Geoinformatics (University of Münster, Germany) created a range of ontologies aligned to the foundational ontology DOLCE for the various topics relevant for the environmental domain. Application-specific ontologies model the terms specific to the data and services in ENVISION. Local ontologies support the three pilot scenarios in the project. All ontologies are developed in the Web Service Modelling Language (WSML), which provides a human-readable syntax making it easy to specify the vocabularies with text editors. These ontologies are then transformed into RDF documents, which are required for the semantic annotation procedure. The following links point to the text-based ontologies, all ontologies including the RDF versions can be directly accessed and downloaded from the Google Code project wsmls.

The wsmls project can be found at:

A smart overview about all ontologies with download links and detailed descriptions is available at the following address:

The domain knowledge, represented in the ontologies for the ENVISION use cases,  is organized hierarchically, forming a dependency structure. DOLCE is the basis for all other ontologies, extending into Observation, Patterns, and Geographic Space. The UC-related ontologies (termed “Scenario-specific Domain Ontologies”) and the ontologies describing the relevant OGC and WSMO models (termed “Application Ontologies”) are built on top of these ontologies. An overview on the ENVISION knowledge model is given in the following figure.

Ontology tree in ENVISION

The role of these ontologies in the annotation process is two-fold. On one hand, they are used to model the resource and on the other, they are used to semantically describe the resource and its attributes. The “two worlds” are joined via the “annotate” relation. Information about annotated Web services in ENVISION and further details about Semantic Annotations can be found here.

The Foundational Ontologies are:

The application-specific ontologies are:

These ontologies are used in various scenarios, including the semantic annotation and semantic discovery of environmental resources.

The domain ontologies are:

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