Semantic Mapping

Jo Walsh is talking about a semantic mapping model for geospatial information called spacewebspace. spacewebspace is a MUD world done using RDF in Jabber (I think). She's talking softly and quickly and its pretty far out there. This Friend of a Friend project is tied in somehow. Steve Fulling would love her slides---they're all in lowercase.

Ignoring XML serialization, RDF is just a directed graph. The MUD bot allows you to tag locations with geodata. I think the idea is to build a virtual, RDF based map of a real place. Boy! I don't think you have to use Jabber since the system is based on GET and POST, any http enabled client should do. There's some reference here to something Hofstadter wrote in Godel, Escher, Bach. I'll have to go look it up. An aside: if you've never read GEB, buy it now and read it.

Possible uses:

  • travel itineraries
  • picture annotation
  • web annotation (blogosphere)
  • collaborative annotation (restaurant recommendation)

The system uses OWL (web ontology language) to create taxonomic descriptions, properties, and logical constraints on the spatial model. The model is created us a similar manner by having a "conversation" using Jabber with an ontology bot.

You can use the RDF graph to do route finding traversal. OWL allows psychological factors to be encapsulated in the logical inference. The slide shows an SVG map of the London subway system that is inferred from the semantic model of London. With historical data, that is version control, you could flip back and forth in time inside the virtual world.

This would have some interesting uses in eGovernment and GIS. These people and the Earthviewer and OpenGIS people need to get together. Being able to overlay this data on Earthviewer would be cool. Even cooler would be to use Earthviewer as the interface to this for creating the data.