DMS2013 Keynote

A Conceptual Framework for Geographic Knowledge Management

Professor Roberto Laurini
KSI Fellow


In many applications, the management of geographic knowledge is very important especially for urban and environmental planning. However there are several practical problems hindering the efficiency, some of them being technical and other being more conceptual. The goal of this talk is to present a tentative conceptual framework for managing practical geographic knowledge taking account of accuracy, rotundity of earth, the mobility of objects, multiple-representation, multi-scale, existence of sliver polygons, differences in classifying real features (ontologies), the many-to-many relationship of placenames (gazetteers) and the necessity of interoperability.

Therefore, geographic objects must be distinguished into several classes of objects with different properties, namely geodetic objects, administrative objects, anthropic (manmade) objects and natural objects.

Regarding spatial relations, in addition to conventional topological and projective relations, other relations including tessellations and ribbon topology relations are presented in order to help model geographic objects by integrating more practical semantics.

Any conceptual framework is based on principles which are overall guidelines and rules; moreover, principles allow at making predictions and drawing implications and are finally the basic building blocks of theoretical models (theories). But before identifying the principles, one needs some preliminary considerations named prolegomena. In our case, principles will be essentially rules for transforming geographic knowledge whereas prolegomena will be assertions regarding more the foundations of geographic science.

Based on those considerations, twelve principles are given, preceded by twelve prolegomena. For instance, some principles deal with the transformation of spatial relationships based on visual acuity, with the influence of neighboring information and cross-boundary interoperability.

New categories of geographic knowledge types are presented, spatial facts, cluster of areas, flows of persons, goods, etc., topological constraints and co-location rules.

To represent knowledge chunks, three styles are presented, based respectively on descriptive logics, XML and visual languages. To conclude this talk, an example of visual language to manage geographic knowledge is proposed.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Robert Laurini (sometimes called Roberto) is presently Professor Emeritus at the Computing Department of INSA-Lyon, University of Lyon, France. He is an expert in the domains of geographic information systems, geographic knowledge management and multimedia information systems. He has overall worked on spatial indexing, conceptual modelling of geodata, quality control of geodata, field-oriented databases, interoperability of geographic database and chorems as visual tools for representing geographic knowledge and visual summaries of geodatabases. He got two doctorates from the Claude Bernard University of Lyon, worked as researcher in the University of Cambridge, UK, and visiting professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. From 1995 to 2008, he had also a teaching position at the IUAV University of Venice, Italy. He is fluent in French, English, Italian and Spanish. He has tutored more than 40 PhD on those domains. He is/was associated editor of the following journals, « Journal of Visual Languages and Computing », « Computers, Environment and Urban Studies », « GeoInformatica », « International Journal of Geographical Information Sciences », etc. He received two awards from ACM one in 1998 and the second in 2010 for his works. He wrote several books, among other « Fundamentals of Spatial Information Systems » with Derek Thompson which was a best seller. During 10 years, he was the president of the steering committee of the ACM GIS conference. From 1980, he his vice-president of UDMS (Urban Data Management Society) whose goal is to promote urban information systems. In addition, he was member of scientic committees of more than 100 conferences. He has been involved in PhD committees in 17 countries throughout the world. Recently, he has created an NGO « Academics Without Borders » which is a network of volunteer academics consultants the main goal of which is to assist universities in developing countries.