Geographical Information Retrieval with Ontologies of Place

  • Christopher B. Jones
  • Harith Alani
  • Douglas Tudhope
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2205)


Geographical context is required of many information retrieval tasks in which the target of the search may be documents, images or records which are referenced to geaographical space only by means of place names. Often there may be an imprecise match between the query name and the names associated with the candidate sources of information. There is a need therefore for geographical information retrieval facilities that can rank the relevance of candidate information with respect to geographical closeness as well as semantic closeness with respect to the topic of interest. Here we present an ontology of place that combines limited coordinate data with qualitative spatial relationships between places. This parsimonious model of place is intended to support information retrieval tasks that may be global in scope. The ontology has been implemented with a semantic modelling system linking non-spatial conceptual hierarchies with the place ontology. An hierachical distance measure is combined with Euclidean distance between place centroids to create a hybrid spatial distance measure. This can be combined with thematic distance, based on classification semantics, to create an integrated semantic closeness measure that can be used for a relevance ranking of retrieved objects.


relevance ranking similarity measures thesauri gazetteers 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher B. Jones
    • 1
  • Harith Alani
    • 2
  • Douglas Tudhope
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceCardiff University Queenss BuildingsCardiffUK
  2. 2.Department of Electronics and Computer ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonUK
  3. 3.School of ComputingUniversity of GlamorganUK

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