torsdag den 21. august 2008

Thematic mapping on the Semantic Web

Der er mange måder at få GIS 'ind' i nettet. Tænk om man kunne skabe et kort ud fra semantik fundet via søgninger på nettet? En flot tanke, men en brugbar realisering ligger nok nogle årtier ude i fremtiden.

There are many ways to get GIS 'into' the Net. Image if you could get a map created from semantics based on searches on the Net. Beautifully imagined but a useable version might be decades out in the future.


Thematic maps are widely used to analyse spatial phenomena in the world. With the rapid development of Internet and GIS technology, people have access to a variety of thematic maps. Nonetheless, these web-based systems often restricts their contents to maps already edited and stored in databases, rather than allowing users to collect data form different sources and create thematic maps meeting their demands.

Imagine if a person has a hypothesis about a correlation between number of conflicts and level of poverty in Africa. She wants to see "a map showing the relationship between armed conflicts in Africa and the level of poverty". If she types this into the Google search engine today she might get some useful results, but not the map she is requesting. The search engine is not able to extract the meaning of the query. The results she gets contain all the words she typed in, but the meaning of “relationship” in her request is often about other issues than conflicts and poverty. She is probably not able to identify a map showing both conflicts and level of poverty in Africa. The search engine is only able to return maps that are already made and tagged with appropriate keywords, and not to make this map “on-the-fly” using data from various sources. How can web resources be accessed by content rather than keywords?


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