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Motivation of Geospatial Semantic Web Research

A large part of the information we deal with on a daily basis has some kind of a geographic dimension. In private life, we might be looking for the opening hours of the bakery shops surrounding our home and perhaps be looking for their special offerings of the day. In our professional life, we may be interested in aggregating sales of customers in South-East Asia, perhaps ordered by the Human Development Index of the country the customer is based in. Often the information required to answer our queries is available, but dispersed among a multiplicity of information sources. The aim of the geospatial Semantic Web research is to make information seeking easier by allowing exploration, editing and interlinking of heterogeneous information sources with a spatial dimension. Traditional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offer rigid sets of geographic features. However, integrating external data sets into these systems typically requires manual integration and programming efforts to ensure that the meaning of the provided information will be processable. However, combining the strengths of Linked Data and GIS systems could spur the transition from islands of isolated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to a geospatially enriched Linked Data Web where geographic information can easily be integrated and processed. The large-scale adoption of Linked Data (see http://lod-cloud.net) has started in 2006 and a number of the largest spatial datasets, like LinkedGeoData, already contain spatial information. A considerable number of users and organizations contribute and work with structured geospatial data on the web. The idea of large-scale collaborative spatial data management is one of the biggest challenges in the area of intelligent information management: the exploitation of the Web as a platform for geospatial data integration as well as for searching and querying for geographic information.

Relevant Pointers



  • GeoKnow - http://geoknow.eu - European Union research project on Geospatial Semantic Web research
  • LinkedGeoData - http://linkedgeodata.org - enriched and interlinked RDF conversion of OpenStreetMap data
  • Datalift - http://datalift.org/en/ - French research project providing a platform to convert any type of data into 5 stars linked data through a series of modules (conversion, modeling, interlinking, visualization). In particular, it contains a generic module to convert any SHP data in RDF.
  • TELEIOS - http://www.earthobservatory.eu/ - European Union research project on representing, querying, publishing and enhancing Geospatial Linked Data with an emphasis on the Earth Observation domain.
  • Places CG - http://www.w3.org/community/places/


Geospatial RDF Stores

  • Strabon - http://www.strabon.di.uoa.gr - Strabon is a semantic spatiotemporal RDF store. You can use it to store linked geospatial data that changes over time and pose queries using two popular extensions of SPARQL. Strabon is a full implementation of stSPARQL and the GeoSPARQL Core, Geometry extension and Geometry topology extension components. It also offers spatial and temporal selections, spatial and temporal joins, a rich set of spatial functions similar to those offered by geospatial relational database systems and support for multiple Coordinate Reference Systems.
  • AllegroGraph - http://www.franz.com/agraph/allegrograph/ - is one of the first RDF stores that provided support for geospatial data.
  • OWLIM - http://www.ontotext.com/owlim/ - A semantic repository enhanced with geospatial capabilities that allows the representation of point geometries and introduces a small set of extension functions that can be used by the users, such as point-in-polygon.
  • Virtuoso - http://virtuoso.openlinksw.com/ - A semantic repository enhanced with geospatial capabilities that allows the representation of point geometries and offers vocabulary for a subset of the ISO 13249 SQL/MM standard.
  • uSeekM - http://dev.opensahara.com/projects/useekm/ - A geospatial RDF store that implements the GeoSPARQL Core, Geometry extension and Geometry topology extension.
  • Parliament - http://parliament.semwebcentral.org/ - A geospatial RDF store that implements the GeoSPARQL Core, Geometry extension and Geometry topology extension
  • Oracle - http://www.oracle.com - Starting from version 12c, Oracle provides a full implementation of GeoSPARQL.


  • Geographica - http://geographica.di.uoa.gr - A benchmark which uses both real-world and synthetic data to test the offered functionality and the performance of some prominent geospatial RDF stores.