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).

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