I1-[OntoSpace] - Overview

Ontologies for Spatial Communication


The aim of the OntoSpace project is to develop a toolbox of ontology-based methods suitable for supporting a broad range of tasks involving spatially-aware systems, primarily but not exclusively within the SFB/TR 8. The project combines within a single rich development environment based on logical specification languages newly developed formal methods for ontology design, construction and maintenance. Conformance to established principles of ontological and formal soundness is formally enforced throughout. Capabilities to be extended include the provision of formal techniques for the sound delivery of consistent sub-ontologies and for migration between representations of differing expressive power. The methods are drawn from formal ontology augmented by experiences in algebraic specifications and mathematical foundations for relating and combining diverse logics as well as from linguistic semantics and functional-contextual interpretations of embodied language.

Despite the extremely rapid acceptance of, and call for, ontologies in intelligent systems, driven in part by SemanticWeb initiatives, there remain central foundational issues concerning the precise placement of spatial and linguistic ontologies and their modular application to spatial problems. Ontology development will be pursued in parallel at a formal level, developing the algebraic specifications necessary for ensuring consistency and for exploring more sophisticated inter-ontology relationships, and at a content level, providing deliverable, consistent axiomatized ontologies for areas of knowledge of particular concern for the SFB/TR 8. Particularly innovative areas here concern the connections between foundational ontologies and specific domains, between physical ontologies and functional ontologies, such as the allocation of functional roles (e.g., landmarks, navigation goals, paths, etc.), between ontology and incomplete knowledge, and between ontologies and embodiment - all within the area of space.