Collaborative Ocean Resource Interoperability: Multi-use of Ocean Data on the Semantic Web

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Abstract

Earth Observations (EO) collect various characteristics of the objective environment using sensors which often have different measuring, spatial and temporal coverage. Making individual observational data interoperable becomes equally important when viewed in the context of its expensive and time-consuming EO operations. Interoperability will improve reusability of existing observations in both the broader context, and with other observations. As a demonstration of the potential offered by semantic web technology, we have used the National Oceanography Centre Southampton’s Ferrybox project (where suites of environmental sensors installed on commercial ships collect near real time data) to set up an ontology based reference model of a Collaborative Ocean, where relevant oceanographic resources, such as sensors and observations, can be semantically annotated by their stakeholders to produce RDF format metadata to facilitate data/resource interoperability in a distributed environment. We have also demonstrated an infrastructure where common semantic management activities are supported, including ontology management, semantic annotation, storage, and reuse (navigating, inference and query). Once the method and infrastructure are adopted by other related oceanographic projects to describe their resources and move their metadata onto the semantic web, it would be possible to see better interoperability within the Collaborative Ocean initiative to facilitate multiuse of ocean data, as well as making more EO data available on the semantic web.