, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1–36 | Cite as

Ontology-Based Descriptions for Semantic Discovery and Composition of Geoprocessing Services

  • Michael LutzEmail author


The ability to process geospatial data will be a great benefit for spatial data infrastructures. This requires the ability to compose data providing services with geoprocessing services. Discovering suitable geoprocessing services is a major challenge in this endeavour. Current (keyword-based) approaches to service discovery are inherently restricted by the ambiguities of natural language, which can lead to low precision and/or recall. To alleviate these problems, we propose to use an ontology-based approach to GI service discovery, which rests on two ideas. Ontologies describing geospatial operations are used to create descriptions of requirements and service capabilities; matches between these descriptions are identified based on function subtyping. We use a running example from the geospatial domain to analyse which problems can occur in existing keyword- and ontology-based approaches and how the discovery of geoprocessing services differs from other service discovery tasks. The example is also used for illustrating the prototypical implementation of the proposed approach.


GI service discovery GI service composition Spatial data infrastractures Ontologies Matchmaking 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


I would like to thank Werner Kuhn, Sven Schade, Eva Klien, Udo Einspanier, Herbert Kuchen, Jörn Witte and Sebastian Hübner for their input at various stages of the work presented in this paper. The work presented in this paper has been supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme (grant number 03F0369A). It can be referenced as publication no. GEOTECH-193.


  1. 1.
    G. Antoniou and F. Van Harmelen.“Web ontology language: Owl,” in S. Staab and R. Studer (Eds.), Handbook on Ontologies, Springer, pp. 67–92, 2003.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. Bellwood, L. Clément, D. Ehnebuske, A. Hately, M. Hondo, Y.L. Husband, K. Januszewski, S. Lee, B. McKee, J. Munter, and C. von Riegen. Uddi version 3.0. published specification, 19 July 2002.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Bernard, U. Einspanier, M. Lutz, and C. Portele. “Interoperability in gi service chains—The way forward,” in M. Gould, R. Laurini, and S. Coulondre (Eds.), 6th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science, Lyon, France, 2003.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L. Bernard. “Experiences from an implementation testbed to set up a national sdi,” in M. Ruiz, M. Gould, and J. Ramon (Eds.), 5th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science 2002, Palma de Mallorca, pp. 315–321, 2002.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. Bernstein and M. Klein. “Towards high-precision service retrieval,” in I. Horrocks and J. Hendler (Eds.), The Semantic Web–First International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2002), Springer: Sardinia, Italy, pp. 84–101, 2002.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    S. Bowers and B. Ludäscher. “An ontology-driven framework for data transformation in scientific workflows,” in International Workshop on Data Integration in the Life Sciences (DILS'04), Springer: Leipzig, Germany, 2004.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    F. Baader and W. Nutt. “Basic description logics,” in F. Baader, D. Calvanese, D. Mcguinnes, D. Nardi, and P. Patel-Schneider (Eds.), The Description Logic Handbook. Theory, Implementation and Applications, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp 43–95, 2003.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    L. Cabral, J. Domingue, E. Motta, T.R. Payne, and F. Hakimpour. “Approaches to semantic web services: an overview and comparisons,” in 1st European Semantic Web Symposium (ESWS2004), Heraklion: Crete, Greece, 2004.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    T.H. Cormen, C.E. Leiserson, and R.L. Rivest. “Introduction to algorithms.” MIT Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    M. Egenhofer. “Towards the semantic geospatial web,” in The 10th ACM International Symposium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM-GIS), Institute for Geoinformatics, Münster, Germany, 2002.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    U. Einspanier, M. Lutz, K. Senkler, I. Simonis, and A. Sliwinski. “Toward a process model for gi service composition,” in GI-Tage (GI Days) 2003, Institute for Geoinformatics: Münster, Germany, 2003.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. Groot and J. McLaughin (Eds.). Geospatial Data Infrastructure—Concepts, Cases, and Good Practice, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2000.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    H. Gallaire, J. Minker, and J.-M. Nicolas. “Logic and databases: A deductive approach.” ACM Computing Surveys, Vol. 16(2):153–185, 1984.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    T. Gruber. “Toward principles for the design of ontologies used for knowledge sharing,” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Vol. 43(5/6):907–928, 1995.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    V. Haarslev and R. Möller. “Racer: A core inference engine for the semantic web,” in 2nd International Workshop on Evaluation of Ontology-based Tools (EON2003), located at the 2nd International Semantic Web Conference ISWC 2003, Sanibel Island, FL, USA, pp. 27–36, 2003.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    C.A.R. Hoare. “An axiomatic basis for computer programming,” Communications of the ACM, Vol. 12(10):576–583, 1969.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    ISO/TC-211. “Text for dis 19107 geogaphic information–spatial schema,” Technical Report, International Organization for Standardization, 2002.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    ISO/TC-211. “Text for fdis 19111 geogaphic information–spatial referencing by coordinates,” Final draft version, Technical Report, International Organization for Standardization, 2002.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    ISO/TC-211. “Text for fdis 19115 geogaphic information-metadata,” Final draft version, Technical Report, International Organization for Standardization, 2003.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    ISO/TC-211. “Geographic information-services (iso 19119:2005),” Technical Report, International Organization for Standardization, 2005.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    M. Klein and A. Bernstein. “Searching for the services on the semantic web using process ontologies.” in I.F. Cruz, S. Decker, J. Euzanat, and D. Mcguinness (Eds.), The first Semantic Web Working Symposium (SWWS), Stanford University, California, USA, pp. 431–446, 2001.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    T. Kawamura, J.-A. De Blasio, T. Hasegawa, M. Paolucci, and K. Sycara. “Preliminary report of public experiment of semantic service matchmaker with uddi business registry,” in M.E. Orlowska, S. Weerawarana, M. Papazoglou, and J. Yang (Eds.), First International Conference on Service-Oriented Computing (ICSOC 2003), Springer Verlag (LNCS 2910): Trento, Italy, 2003.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    M. Klein and B. König-Ries. “A process and a tool for creating service descriptions based on daml-s,” in 4th VLDB Workshop on Technologies for E-Services (TES'03), Springer: Berlin, 2003.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    M. Klein and B. König-Ries. “Combining query and preference–an approach to fully automatize dynamic service binding,” in IEEE International Conference on Web Services (ICWS'04), San Diego, California, USA, IEEE Computer Society, pp. 788–791, 2004.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    M. Klein and B. König-Ries. “Coupled signature and specification matching for automatic service binding,” in L.-J. Zhang (Ed.), European Conference on Web Services (ECOWS'04), Erfurt, Germany, Springer, pp. 183–197, 2004.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    U. Keller, R. Lara, H. Lausen, A. Polleres, and D. Fensel. “Automatic location of services,” in 2nd European Semantic Web Conference 2005, Heraklion: Greece, 2005.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    M. Lutz, U. Einspanier, E. Klien, and S. Hübner. “An architecture for ontology-based discovery and retrieval of geographic information,” in P. Dadam, and M. Reichert (Eds.), Informatik 2004—Informatik verbindet, Beitr¨age der 34. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft f¨ur Informatik e.V. (GI), Band 2, Gesellschaft für Informatik: Ulm, Germany, pp. 574–578, 2004.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    L. Li and I. Horrocks. “A software framework for matchmaking based on semantic web technology,” in The Twelfth International World Wide Web Conference, Budapest, Hungary, ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, pp. 331–339, 2003.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    B. Liskov. “Data abstraction and heirarchy,” ACM Sigplan Notices, Vol. 23(5):17–34, 1987.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    M. Lutz and E. Klien. “Ontology-based retrieval of geographic information,” International Journal of Geographic Information Science, Vol. 20(3):233–260, 2006.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    M. Lutz. “Non-taxonomic relations in semantic service discovery and composition,” in 1st “Ontology in Action” Workshop, in conjunction with 16th Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (SEKE 2004), Banff, Canada, pp. 482–485, 2004.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    M. Lutz. “Ontology-based service discovery in spatial data infrastructures,” in Workshop on Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR 2005), Bremen, Germany. ACM Press: New York, 2005.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    T.W. Malone, K. Crowstone, and G.A. Herman. “Organizing business knowledge: The MIT process handbook,” MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2003.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    L. Mckee. “Who wants a gdi?” in R. Groot and J. McLaughlin (Eds.), Geospatial data infrastructure–Concepts, cases, and good practice, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 13–24, 2000.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    D. Martin, M. Paolucci, S. McIlraith, M. Burstein, D. McDermott, D. McGuinness, B. Parsia, T. Payne, M. Sabou, M. Solanki, N. Srinivasan, and K. Sycara. “Bringing semantics to web services: The owls approach,” in First International Workshop on Semantic Web Services and Web Process Composition (SWSWPC 2004), San Diego, CA, USA, 2004.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    J. Munkres. Topology. 2nd edition, Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA, 2000.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    D. Nebert. “Developing spatial data infrastructures: The SDI cookbook, Version 1.1.,” Global Spatial Data Infrastructure, Technical Comittee, 2001.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    OGC. “Web feature service implementation specification,” version 1.0.0 (opengis implementation specification), Technical Report OGC 02-058, Open GIS Consortium, 2002.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    OGC. “Web map server interface implementation specification,” version 1.1.1 opengis project, 2002.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    OGC. “Ows1.2 uddi experiment,” Technical Report OGC 03-028, OpenGIS Consortium, 2003.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    OGC. “Web coverage service (wcs)”, version 1.0.0 (ogc implementation specification), Technical Report OGC 03-065r6, Open Geospatial Consortium, 2003.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    OGC. “Catalogue services specification,” version 2.0 (ogc implementation specification), Technical Report OGC 04-021r2, Open GIS Consortium, 2004.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    OGC. “Web processing service (wps) specification,” version 0.2.1 (ogc discussion paper), Technical Report OGC 05-007, Open Geospatial Consortium, 2005.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    J. Penix and P. Alexander. “Toward automated component adaptation,” in 9th International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, 1997.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    M. Paolucci, T. Kawamura, T.R. Payne, and K. Sycara. “Semantic matching of web service capabilities,” in I. Horrocks and J. Hendler (Eds.), 1st International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2002), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2342, Sardinia, Italy, Springer, pp. 333–347, 2002.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    J. Riecken, L. Bernard, C. Portele, and A. Remke. “North-rhine westphalia: Building a regional sdi in a cross-border environment/ad-hoc integration of sdis: Lessons learnt,” in 9th EC-GI and GIS Workshop—ESDI: Serving the User, A Coruña: Spain, 2003.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    D. Roman, H. Lausen, U. Keller, J. de Bruijn, C. Bussler, J. Domingue, D. Fensel, M. Kifer, J. Kopecky, R. Lara, E. Oren, A. Polleres, and M. Stollberg. “Web service modeling ontology (wsmo),” version 1.1, 2005.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    S. Russel and P. Norvig. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. 2nd edition, Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA, 2003.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    R. Richardson and A.F. Smeaton. “Using wordnet in a knowledge-based approach to information retrieval (technical report ca-0395),” Technical Report, Dublin City University, 1995.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    R. Studer, V.R. Benjamins, and D. Fensel. “Knowledge engineering: Principles and methods,” Data and Knowledge Engineering, Vol. 25(1-2):161–197, 1998.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    U. Sattler, D. Calvanese, and R. Molitor. “Relationships with other formalisms,” in F. Baader, D. Calvanese, D. Nardi, and P. Patel-Schneider (Eds.), The Description Logic Handbook. Theory, Implementation and Applications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 142–183, 2003.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    A.J.H. Simons. “The theory of classification. part2: The scratch-built typechecker,” Journal of Object Technology, Vol. 1(2):47–52, 2002.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    A.J.H. Simons. “The theory of classification. part4: Object types and subtyping,” Journal of Object Technology, Vol. 1(5):27–35, 2002.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    K. Sivashanmugam, K. Verma, A. Sheth, and J. Miller. “Adding semantics to web services standards,” in D. Fensel, K. Sycara, and J. Mylopoulos (Eds.), The SemanticWeb—ISWC 2003. 2nd International Semantic Web Conference (LNCS 2870), Sundial Resort, Sanibel Island, Florida, USA, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, pp. 395–401, 2003.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    K. Sycara, S. Widoff, M. Klusch, and J. Lu. “Larks: Dynamic matchmaking among heterogeneous software agents in cyberspace,” in First International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, Bologna, Italy, Kluwer, pp. 173–203, 2002.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    D. Trastour, C. Bartolini, and J. Gonzalez-Castillo. “A semantic web approach to service description for matchmaking of services,” in I.F. Cruz, S. Decker, J. Euzenat, and D. McGuinness (Eds.), The first Semantic Web Working Symposium, Stanford University, California, USA, pp. 447–461, 2001.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    M. Uschold, “Knowledge level modelling: Concepts and terminology.”. The Knowledge Engineering Review 13 (1998) 5-29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    K. Verma, K. Sivashanmugam, A. Sheth, and A. Patil. “Meteor-s wsdi: A scalable p2p infrastructure of registries for semantic publication and discovery of web services,” Journal of Information Technology and Management, 2004.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    W3C. “W3c: Web services description language (wsdl) 1.1,” Technical Report, W3C, in, March 2001.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    M. Worboys and M. Duckham. “GIS–A computing perspective,” CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, USA, 2004.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    C. Weidenbach. “Combining superposition, sorts and splitting,” in Handbook of Automated Reasoning, Elsevier and MIT Press, pp. 1965-2013, 2001.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    H. Wache, T. Vögele, U. Visser, H. Stuckenschmidt, G. Schuster, H. Neumann, and S. Hübner. “Ontology-based integration of information–a survey of existing approaches,” in IJCAI-01 Workshop: Ontologies and Information Sharing, CA, Seattle, WA. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers: San Francisco, CA, pp. 108–117, 2001.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    A.M. Zaremski and J.M. Wing. “Signature matching: A tool for using software libraries,” ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, Vol. 4(2):146–170, 1995.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    A.M. Zaremski and J.M. Wing. “Specification matching of software components,” ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, Vol. 6(4):333–369, 1997.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission - DG Joint Research CentreInstitute for Environment and SustainabilityIspra (VA)Italy

Personalised recommendations