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Information Semantics and its Implications for Geographic Analysis (ISGA 08)

First International Workshop in Park City, Utah, September 23rd, 2008

held in conjunction with

GIScience 2008, the 5th International Conference on Geographic Information Science

Workshop outcomes will form the basis for an open call for submission to a special issue in International Journal of Geographical Information Science on integration of information semantics and spatial analysis

Workshop Organizers

  • Ola Ahlqvist, The Ohio State University, U.S.A.
  • Martin Raubal, University of California Santa Barbara, U.S.A.
  • Angela Schwering, University of Osnabrueck, Germany
  • Ashton Shortridge, Michigan State University, U.S.A.

Workshop Theme

Ontology and information semantics are central to research on enhanced interoperability between geographic information systems, services, and data sets. It is increasingly understood that deeper insights into information semantics also have consequences for geographic analysis in general. Development of semantic similarity metrics appears to enable access to a much broader array of analytical methods for categorical data than those traditionally employed. Existing examples that demonstrate this potential are fuzzy accuracy assessment, map similarity estimates, and semantic versions of the standard variogram. An explicit recognition of the importance of context in semantic assessments also poses interesting questions for a quantitative approach to categorical data. The influence of context on semantic similarity measurement is a well-known phenomenon that has long been observed in psychological experiments. Although the results of human similarity ratings depend on the context, and this dependency is also reflected in recent similarity theories, the nature of this influence and its actual impact have not been subject to thorough research yet.

This workshop seeks to advance both theoretical and applied perspectives with these two overarching goals:

  • develop consensus on the current understanding of category semantics and the means by which it can be elicited, formalized, and assessed for geographic information
  • describe and exemplify the potential of semantic similarity metrics in spatial data manipulation, analysis, statistics, and modeling

Under these main categories fall issues such as:

  • How to capture semantics of
    • Categories
    • Events
    • Actions
  • Time, place, and culture dependence of semantics
    • How to account for context
  • Cognitive aspects of semantics
    • How to account for human cognition in semantic similarity metrics
    • How to account for human cognition in the way we capture and represent semantics
  • Evaluation of validity, is the formal representation truthful?
  • How to represent and calculate with category semantics
    • Formal frameworks
    • Different types of semantic metrics
    • Contrasting multiple frameworks
  • Potential use of semantic similarity metrics in quantitative spatial analysis; e.g. such as map algebra, buffering, density/pattern estimation, correlation statistical analysis, and spatial modeling with categorical data

We also seek submissions of benchmark datasets that can be used by the wider community for validation and comparison of the many emerging approaches in this area.

Call for Papers

Anybody with an interest in the questions raised above is invited to submit a position paper as basis for discussions during the workshop. Extended abstracts of 1000 - 1500 words should be sent by email to isga08(at) Accepted papers will be made available on the workshop web site, unless their authors instruct us otherwise. Authors will be notified whether their position papers have been selected for an additional short-presentation during the workshop.

Authors are invited to submit revised versions of their position papers to a post-workshop review process, leading to a journal special issue on future research directions for semantic similarity research.

Important Dates

  • Submission due: 30th May 2008
  • Acceptance Notification: 30th June 2008
  • Camera-ready Copies: 30th July 2008
Topic revision: r3 - 13 Aug 2010, TheresiaFreska
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