Ontology-Based Spatial Query Expansion in Information Retrieval
Ontologies play a key role in Semantic Web research. A common use of ontologies in Semantic Web is to enrich the current Web resources with some well-defined meaning to enhance the search capabilities of existing web searching systems. This paper reports on how ontologies developed in the EU Semantic Web project SPIRIT are used to support retrieval of documents that are considered to be spatially relevant to users’ queries. The query expansion techniques presented in this paper are based on both a domain and a geographical ontology. The proposed techniques are distinguished from conventional ones in that a query is expanded by derivation of its geographical query footprint. The techniques are specially designed to resolve a query (such as castles near Edinburgh) that involves spatial terms (e.g. Edinburgh) and fuzzy spatial relationships (e.g. near) that qualify the spatial terms. Various factors are taken into account to support intelligent expansion of a spatial query, including, spatial terms as encoded in the geographical ontology, non-spatial terms as encoded in the domain ontology, as well as the semantics of the spatial relationships and their context of use. Some experiments have been carried out to evaluate the performance of the proposed techniques using sample realistic ontologies.
KeywordsOntology Semantic Web Spatial Search Query Expansion
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