Rolf Gruetter of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, will present the School of IT Colloquium with a talk entitled, "Combining Proximity Relations with Ontologies: Some Challenges".

Abstract: "What is near what" is one of the most frequent questions addressed when performing GIS analyses, and state-of-the-art GIS systems offer rich support for proximity analysis. Named places and administrative divisions lend themselves to descriptions in standard ontology languages like OWL [1]. Accordingly, geo-ontologies such as GeoNames [2] and Ordnance Survey [3] have a long history and were among the first to be published as Linked Data [4]. The "what" parts of the aforementioned question are thus sufficiently well addressed in applied ontology. This is much less the case for the "near" part: The way of proximity relations to ontology language is long. A reason is that proximity relations are partly based on mereological and mereotopological theory, the axioms of which have been shown to align hardly to ontological axioms [5]. This presentation will give an overview of recent work in the field [6] and point to some problems arising when combining proximity relations with ontologies.

Bio:Rolf is a senior researcher in the GIS group of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research. He holds a DVM of the University of Berne and an MBA of the University St Gallen, both Switzerland. Rolf's research interests include the exploration of semantic methods that make data access and Web searches more intuitive to users. They also include recent advances in making the Web more knowledgeable and location-aware. These are often labelled as "Semantic Web" and "Geospatial Web". A more recent topic deals with how semantic techniques can be used to make sense of Big Data for predictive analytics.