Author Archives: Alejandra Garcia Rojas

Geospatial Data User Survey Results

In the past month (April 2013), we invited geospatial data consumers and providers, GIS experts and Semantic Web specialists to participate in our Geospatial Data Users Survey. The goal of this survey was to collect general use cases and user requirements from people outside the GeoKnow consortium. We publicised the survey using mailing lists and social networks, and it was available for 25 days. During this period we received 122 responses, of these we had 51 full responses and 71 incomplete ones. Since we were interested in having good quality surveys, so we performed a manual control, which resulted in 39 useful responses – not too bad. In this blog post, we aim to show some interesting results from our survey. If you are interested to learn more about the results of this survey, you can check the public derivable available here.

User Scenarios

UserScenarionByTypeOne of the goals of this survey was to learn more use cases different from those we already consider in the project. Thus, we asked participants how they use geospatial data in their work. To analyse this question, we grouped answers in different types which is shown in the graph at the right. Most of the scenarios were about visualisation and analysis, followed by geospatial data creation scenarios.


We asked users for the most popular tools they use at their work. Responses to this question were OSM and Google Maps/Earth, as well as other GSI. After we asked about the features they like the most about these tools, participants reflected preference by easy to use and free tools for their work, referring to their popular choices of Google Maps or OSM. Also having an API to interact with the application is important. The fact that applications provided data that can be integrated was also appreciated. GIS applications were considered as difficult. Integration and interoperability were mentioned as goals. Besides the previous question, we were also interested in knowing the missing functionalities that may improve their work. A list of these functionalities grouped by the related work package within GeoKnow is presented in the image below.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.06.23 AM


This survey allow us to learn from different use cases, main features used, and desired functionalities, that are to be considered in the creation of the GeoKnow Generator. Some important high level findings from the survey were the emphasis in interoperability and reusability through open APIs and approachable visualisation components, support for common geospatial data formats and geodbs, and the necessity of simple tools to support data integration/reuse from geospatial LOD sources.

We also found that some of the ideas of the GeoKnow project are further supported by user requirements like the integration of private and public data and the importance of using the web as an integration platform.

Open Data on the Web 23 – 24 April 2013

The Open Data on the Web Workshop will be held in London, at the Google Campus, from the 23 – 24 April.

On the agenda are the following topics concerning Open Data:

  • discoverability;
  • transformation (to other formats);
  • combinations of data from different models (e.g. linked data and CSV);
  • quality assessment and self-description;
  • extracting human-readable “stories” from data.

Ontos, represented by Jon Jay Le Grange, will join in and present the technology and aims of the Geoknow project.

Learn more about the workshop and it’s topics.



A Survey for Geospatial Data Users

Many different applications we deal with on a daily basis have some kind of geographic dimension. This geospatial information is normally required for decision making at different levels. However, this information is dispersed among a multiplicity of sources. At GeoKnow we aim to make information seeking easier by allowing exploration, editing and interlinking of heterogeneous information sources with a spatial dimension.

Now we are interested in getting to know the people that face these kinds of issues in their everyday work. We have created a survey to help us to understand and to hear more about their experience with geospatial data.  This survey targets geospatial data consumers and providers, and GIS users interested in having an integrated web of geospatial data.

If you use geospatial data in your work, your contribution in this survey will be highly appreciated. The outcome of this survey will impact the use cases and requirements for the GeoKnow project, which aims to create a versatile software framework to rapidly generate spatial semantic web applications.

We are offering a 20 euro Amazon voucher to the first 50 completed surveys. Willing to participate? Please go right away to:

The Geoknow Survey

We value your participation!

GeoKnow KickOff Meeting


Paulinum – Aula und Universitätskirche St. Pauli and Augusteum

Last week (January 16th and 17th), we were warmly received by the InfAI team at one of the most interesting architectural buildings in Leipzig – the Paulinum at Universität Leipzig – to kick off the GeoKnow project. The meeting brought several discussions around the GeoKnow objectives to the table. Besides general discussions, in which everyone presented themselves and his/her role within the consortium, parallel meetings were organised where we discussed about research on spatial data as well as user scenarios and requirements within GeoKnow.

Geospatial Data Research

Research work package meetings were very interesting with discussions revolving around:

  • How to benchmark geospatial data: Geo-spatial data storage is a challenge considering that there are points, lines and polygons describing data along with the usual structured information, which end up being stored in very large databases. Large datasets are combined with powerful distributed querying, which will be benchmarked in the project.
  • Data fusing and link discovering: There is a lot of geospatial data and non-geospatial data that we can use on our scenarios. Therefore, we investigate efficient tools for fusing data and link discovering to enrich both geographical and not geographical data.
  • Visualisation paradigms: visualisation requires to be as responsive and lightweight as possible – we discussed how to optimise data and data storage to cope with these objectives.

GeoKnow Generator and User Scenarios

Also during our kick-off, we discussed about the GeoKnow Generator.  This framework is aimed to be used by anyone who wants to generate geospatial semantic web applications rapidly, and integrates the components (for querying, linking, browsing, editing, quality assurance) we are developing in the project. We pictured the first architecture of the GeoKnow Generator and the first user requirements according to our use case scenarios:

  1. Supporting supply chains: manufacturers need to improve information flow of material shipping from suppliers to its destination. Since they usually work in a just in time strategy, they need to avoid and anticipate any possible delay in the arrival of their materials. In our meeting, we could identify relevant requirements such as to be able to visualize real time data (route tracking material) and static data (supplier data) together with semantically enhanced message systems.
  2. Connecting E-Commerce information systems: Internet-based travel portals handle data of various types and sources (e.g. CRM system, travel agency products, POIs, hotel data, flight connections, etc) where linked data can overcome the problem of scalability and data integration. Improved management of geographical data in this use case provides benefits for travel agencies, customers and service providers since the geographical aspects will help in the discovery and matching of products and customers.

The meetings around use cases helped us to start a user requirements definition. However, we are also interested in hearing other use cases exploiting linked spacial data. You can drop us a message at if you are interested in exploiting geospatial linked data in your use case.

We want to thank to all partners for joining and contributing to the meeting and look forward to interesting research and applications within the project. Come back soon to read more about Geoknow.

GeoKnow consortium works on making the Web an exploratory place for geospatial data

EU, researcher and industry partners working together adding spatial dimensions to the Web in order to improve search, reuse and interlinking of data.

Leipzig, December 17, 2012: GeoKnow, an EU FP7 funded project, recently started according to schedule in December 2012. Its goal is to research geospatial data, in particular, the integration and linking of such data from different domains, scalable reasoning over billions of geographic features within the Linked Data Web and the efficient crowd-sourcing and collaborative authoring of geographic information.

Nowadays, many applications have a geographic dimension. Map services such as Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Microsoft Live Maps display locations of shops and reviews of customers. Yet it is not possible to link geographic locations to data sets with semantic information such as the offered type of products in the shops. Hence, the type of queries in those services is very limited as it is, for example, not possible to ask for nearby shops offering a certain type of product with opening hours after working time. The information required to answer such queries is available, however dispersed among a multiplicity of information sources like isolated Geographic Information Systems, enterprise warehouses, proprietary data formats such as Excel sheets or simple web pages.

GeoKnow’s aim is to simplify information seeking by allowing exploration, editing and interlinking of heterogeneous sources with spatial dimensions. The research project will develop open source tools which will help users, companies and government organizations to expose and utilize structured geospatial information on the Web. Thus, the project addresses various stakeholders who will benefit from the research project. Use cases from supply chain management and e-commerce (travel industry) will supplement the research. One exemplary aim within the supply chain use case is to provide a unified spatial view on parts of a logistic process. To achieve this target, information with geographical reference points will be connected to the Data Web, allowing for a better observation of the information flow to provide better analytics and to improve decision making processes. In the e-commerce use case, travel industry users will benefit from more background information, enriched content and sophisticated spatial search functionalities.

The GeoKnow consortium is going to meet for the kick-off meeting in Leipzig on January 16th and 17th and is planning to inform the community about the results using actual channels such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and the GeoKnow web page.

The GeoKnow consortium. Working towards the achievement of the ambitious project goal in the consortium are six partners representing four different countries. The consortium assembled leaders from industry and research that will work in the next three years on the EU funded project. The project coordinator is InfAI (Institute für Angewandte Informatik) from the University of Leipzig (Germany), Athena Research and Innovation Center (Greece), OpenLink Software (United Kingdom), Unister (Germany), Brox (Germany) and Ontos (Switzerland).

More information

About the project:

About InfAI:

What is GeoKnow about?

Spatial dimensions of information have high relevance  for everyday problems. A typical example is knowing the locations of the closest stores which have a specific product in stock and are currently open. This geographic dimension information is normally available, but dispersed among a multiplicity of information sources such as isolated Geographic Information Systems, enterprise warehouses, proprietary data formats such as Excel sheets or simple web pages.

The aim of the GeoKnow project is to make information seeking easier by allowing exploration, editing and interlinking of heterogeneous information sources with a spatial dimension. Complex scenarios such as the logistical status of a product within a supply chain and data warehouses of e-commerce systems are also dealt with in the Geoknow project.

Geoknow aims to contribute to the following areas concerned with geospatial data:

  • Creation and maintenance of qualitative geospatial information from existing unstructured data such as OpenStreetMap, Geonames and Wikipedia. Geoknow will develop quality assessment methods which anticipate a geospatial search and the acquisition and aggregation of information resources.
  • Reuse and exploitation of unforeseen discoveries found in geospatial data. Geoknow will provide methods to acquire, analyse and categorise data that is rapidly evolving,  immense, incomplete and potentially conflicting. This will be achieved with:
    • Tools and methodologies for mapping and exposing existing structured geospatial information on the web of data, considering comprehensive and qualitative ontologies and efficient spatial indexing.
    • Automatic fusing and aggregation of geospatial data by developing algorithms and services based on machine learning, pattern recognition and heuristics.
    • Tools for exploring, searching, authoring and curating the Spatial Data Web by using Web 2.0 and machine learning techniques based on scalable spatial knowledge stores.

All these contributions are integrated in the open source GeoKnow Generator framework developed by the consortium.  This framework allows the creation of spatial semantic web applications rapidly by:

  • integrating  geospatial reasoning tools,
  • processing of billions of geospatial information sets
  • spatial-semantic browsing
  • enabling the combination of datasets from the LOD cloud and private data with a geographic dimension.

The GeoKnow Generator will provide a comprehensive toolset of easy to use applications covering a range of possible usage scenarios (e.g. mobility/traffic, energy/water, culture, etc). It will be used by Unister as a spatial-semantic travel e-commerce data management tool; and by BROX as a spatial-semantic collaboration and data integration tool along value-chains in supplier and customer networks. The relevance of these scenarios will be described in another post.