Geographic Information Science

Volume 8728 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 173-186

Linked Data - A Paradigm Shift for Geographic Information Science

  • Werner KuhnAffiliated withCenter for Spatial Studies, University of CaliforniaDepartment of Geography, University of California
  • , Tomi KauppinenAffiliated withCognitive Systems Group, Universität BremenDepartment of Media Technology, Aalto University School of Science
  • , Krzysztof JanowiczAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of California

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The Linked Data paradigm has made significant inroads into research and practice around spatial information and it is time to reflect on what this means for GIScience. Technically, Linked Data is just data in the simplest possible data model (that of triples), allowing for linking records or data sets anywhere across the web using controlled semantics. Conceptually, Linked Data offers radically new ways of thinking about, structuring, publishing, discovering, accessing, and integrating data. It is of particular novelty and value to the producers and users of geographic data, as these are commonly thought to require more complex data models. The paper explains the main innovations brought about by Linked Data and demonstrates them with examples. It concludes that many longstanding problems in GIScience have become approachable in novel ways, while new and more specific research challenges emerge.