Communicating Vague Spatial Concepts in Human-GIS Interactions: A Collaborative Dialogue Approach

  • Guoray Cai
  • Hongmei Wang
  • Alan M. MacEachren
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2825)


Natural language requests involving vague spatial concepts are not easily communicated to a GIS because the meaning of spatial concepts depends largely on the contexts (such as task, spatial contexts, and user’s personal background) that may or may not be available or specified in the system. To address such problems, we developed a collaborative dialogue approach that enables the system and the user to construct shared knowledge about relevant contexts. The system is able to anticipate what contextual knowledge must be shared, and to form a plan to exchange contextual information based on the system’s belief on who knows what. To account those user contexts that are not easily communicated by language, direct feedback approach is used to refine the system’s belief so that the intended meaning is properly grounded. The approach is implemented as a dialogue agent, GeoDialogue, and is illustrated through an example dialogue involving the communication of the vague spatial concept near.


Geographical Information System Contextual Information Belief Status Spatial Object Contextual Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guoray Cai
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hongmei Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alan M. MacEachren
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Information Sciences and TechnologyPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.GeoVISTA CenterPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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