Author

Kraig King

Date of Award

12-2007

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Spatial Information Science and Engineering

Advisor

Kathleen Stewart Hornsby

Second Committee Member

Max Egenhofer

Third Committee Member

Silvia Nittel

Abstract

This work investigates the supporting role of ontologies for supplementing the information contained in moving object databases. Details of the spatial representation as well as the sensed location of moving objects are frequently stored within a database schema. However, this knowledge lacks the semantic detail necessary for reasoning about characteristics that are specific to each object. Ontologies contribute semantic descriptions for moving objects and provide the foundation for discovering similarities between object types. These similarities can be drawn upon to extract additional details about the objects around us. The primary focus of the research is a framework for linking ontologies with databases. A major benefit gained from this kind of linking is the augmentation of database knowledge and multi-granular perspectives that are provided by ontologies through the process of generalization. Methods are presented for linking based on a military transportation scenario where data on vehicle position is collected from a sensor network and stored in a geosensor database. An ontology linking tool, implemented as a stand alone application, is introduced. This application associates individual values from the geosensor database with classes from a military transportation device ontology and returns linked value-class pairs to the user as a set of equivalence relations (i.e., matches). This research also formalizes a set of motion relations between two moving objects on a road network. It is demonstrated that the positional data collected from a geosensor network and stored in a spatio-temporal database, can provide a foundation for computing relations between moving objects. Configurations of moving objects, based on their spatial position, are described by motion relations that include isBehind and inFrontOf. These relations supply a user context about binary vehicle positions relative to a reference object. For example, the driver of a military supply truck may be interested in knowing what types of vehicles are in front of the truck. The types of objects that participate in these motion relations correspond to particular classes within the military transportation device ontology. This research reveals that linking a geosensor database to the military transportation device ontology will facilitate more abstract or higher-level perspectives of these moving objects, supporting inferences about moving objects over multiple levels of granularity. The details supplied by the generalization of geosensor data via linking, helps to interpret semantics and respond to user questions by extending the preliminary knowledge about the moving objects within these relations.

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