Similarity measures have a long tradition in fields such as information retrieval artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Within the last years these measures have been extended and reused to measure semantic similarity; i.e. for comparing meanings rather than syntactic differences. Various measures for spatial applications have been developed but a solid foundation for answering what they measure; how they are best applied in information retrieval; which role contextual information plays; and how similarity values or rankings should be interpreted is still missing. It is therefore difficult to decide which measure should be used for a particular application or to compare results from different similarity theories. Based on a review of existing similarity measures we introduce a framework to specify the semantics of similarity. We discuss similarity-based information retrieval paradigms as well as their implementation in web-based user interfaces for geographic information retrieval to demonstrate the applicability of the framework. Finally we formulate open challenges for similarity research.
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Janowicz, Krzysztof; Raubal, Martin; and Kuhn, Werner
"The semantics of similarity in geographic information retrieval,"
Journal of Spatial Information Science:
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/josis/vol2011/iss2/3