Bridging ontologies and conceptual schemas in geographic information integration

Frederico Fonseca, Clodoveu Davis, Gilberto Câmara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Integration of geographic information has increased in importance because of new possibilities arising from the interconnected world and the increasing availability of geographic information. Ontologies support the creation of conceptual models and help with information integration. In this paper, we propose a way to link the formal representation of semantics (i.e., ontologies) to conceptual schemas describing information stored in databases. The main result is a formal framework that explains a mapping between a spatial ontology and a geographic conceptual schema. The mapping of ontologies to conceptual schemas is made using three different levels of abstraction: formal, domain, and application levels. At the formal level, highly abstract concepts are used to express the schema and the ontologies. At the domain level, the schema is regarded as an instance of a generic data model. At the application level, we focus on the particular case of geographic applications. We also discuss the influence of ontologies in both the traditional and geographic systems development methodologies, with an emphasis on the conceptual design phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-378
Number of pages24
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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