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W3C Incubator Activity

Incubator Activity > W3C Geospatial Incubator Group


2007-10-31: The XG is now closed.

2007-10-31: The XG has published two XGRs: Geospatial Vocabulary and Geospatial Ontologies.

2006-07-05: Geospatial XG launched (public W3C news, Member only Call for Participation)

August 2006: Geospatial group has begun work on the Geo vocabulary update with materials from GeoRSS

2006-11-6: Terra Cognita workshop at ISWC'2006 considers topics, work items, and follow-on activities for this Geospatial Incubator Group

2006-11-17: Geospatial XG workshop to be held at MIT

2006-12-7: Discussion of coordination between the Geospatial XG and the new Spatial Ontology Community of Practice (SOCoP)

2006-12-12: F2F Meeting to be held (session of the Information Communities and Semantics Working Group) at the OGC Technical Committee Meeting in San Diego

2007-02-25: There is a new draft of the Geo vocabulary update (neogeo) for review and soon to be a draft Note. Group members and other interested parties are encouraged to review and comment on this in the Geo Update wiki page.


1. Geospatial Vocabulary

2. Geospatial Ontologies

3. Draft Geospatial WG charter


Collaborative work on the group's deliverables is documented in the Geospatial XG Wiki


2006.11.6: Terra Cognita Workshop

2006.11.17: F2F Meeting and Workshop at MIT Stata Center

2006.12.12: F2F Meeting at the OGC Technical Committee Meeting in San Diego

2007.3.7: F2F Meeting opportunity at the European Geonformatics Workshop in Edinburgh

2007.4.16: F2F Meeting at the OGC Technical Committee Meeting in Ottawa

Weekly teleconference

A weekly teleconference is held for this group on the Zakim teleconference bridge:

IRC Channel #geoxg

Hosted on


30 October 2006

13 November 2006

20 November 2006

11 December 2006

18 December 2006

22 January 2007

26 February 2007

About the Geospatial XG

The mission of the Geospatial Incubator Group, part of the Incubator Activity, is to begin addressing issues of location and geographical properties of resources for the Web of today and tomorrow, by taking a concrete step to update the W3C GEO vocabulary, laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive geospatial ontology, and formulating a proposal for a W3C Local Web working group to develop recommendations to further the Local Web.

Location and geographical properties of resources has always been something of a dilemma for the World Wide Web, which has served so well to unlink the global identity of a resource from its physical location on the globe. One of the Web's greatest values is its capacity for enabling the growth of communities which are not constrained by distance and geography. Nonetheless, physical location is at least an essential property if not a part of the identity of any real entity. When appropriate, the Local Web of resources identified by location and geography is an essential aspect of Web discovery and communication.

Issues in geographical representation are many and often parallel those in the Web as a whole, from resource identifiers to machine-readable semantics. Just as there are both physical (IP) and conceptual (domain namespace) locators on the World Wide Web, there are physical (latitude-longitude coordinates and street addresses) and conceptual (placenames and political divisions) locators on the Local Web. Geospatial concepts and relationships are at once as possible and difficult to define with formal semantics as those which express any other resource meaning. Geospatial aspects of progress from the Web of text and tags to the Semantic Web are just as challenging and important.

There are, however, unique aspects to the geospatial representation of information which merit special attention in the advancement of the Web as a whole. The map is not the terrain; a geographic coordinate pair is only a terse representation of a geographical entity. Something as simple as a geotagged Web page “a representation of a representation“ raises unresolved semantic, syntactic, and engineering issues which have until now hindered full development of the Local Web. Yet another set of issues is raised by the fact that it is not always desirable or “safe“ for world to know where a resource lives. Some of the gateways from the World Wide Web to the Local Web require gates and gatekeepers.

Joshua Lieberman, Geospatial Incubator Group Chair
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