Ontology-Based Integration of Sensor Web Services in Disaster Management

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With the specifications defined through the Sensor Web Enablement initiative of the Open Geospatial Consortium, flexible integration of sensor data is becoming a reality. Challenges remain in the discovery of appropriate sensor information and in the real-time fusion of this information. This is important, in particular, in disaster management, where the flow of information is overwhelming and sensor data must be easily accessible for non-experts (fire brigade officers). We propose to support, in this context, sensor discovery and fusion by “semantically” annotating sensor services with terms from an ontology. In doing so, we employ several well-known techniques from the GIS and Semantic Web worlds, e.g., for semantic matchmaking and data presentation. The novel contribution of our work is a carefully arranged tool architecture, aimed at providing optimal integration support, while keeping the cost for creating the annotations at bay. We address technical details regarding the interaction and functionality of the components, and the design of the required ontology. Based on the architecture, after minimal off-line effort, on-line discovery and integration of sensor data is no more difficult than using standard GIS applications.