Architecture for a Grounded Ontology of Geographic Information

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A major problem with encoding an ontology of geographic information in a formal language is how to cope with the issues of vagueness, ambiguity and multiple, possibly conflicting, perspectives on the same concepts. We present a means of structuring such an ontology which allows these issues to be handled in a controlled and principled manner, with reference to an example ontology of the domain of naive hydrography, and discuss some of the issues which arise when grounding such a theory in real data — that is to say, when relating qualitative geographic description to quantitative geographic data.