Representing and Utilizing Changing Historical Places as an Ontology Time Series

  • Eero HyvönenEmail author
  • Jouni Tuominen
  • Tomi Kauppinen
  • Jari Väätäinen
Part of the Semantic Web and Beyond book series (ADSW, volume 12)


Place names and their geographical coverage change in time. This causes problems when retrieving information content related to different times. Geo-content is usually indexed using place names of the time of indexing (e.g. a photo of the 1968 upraise of Czechoslovakia indexed then) or of the time that the content has been used or created (e.g. a spear used in the Punic Wars in 146 b.c. in Carthago but indexed at a later time using place names of that time). Finally, end-users may query content in terms of contemporary place names (e.g. Check Republic or Slovakia) or overlapping historic names of different times (e.g. Roman Empire). This chapter presents an ontology-based approach to this problem. The idea is to represent and maintain a time series of spatial ontologies in terms of easily manageable local spatio-temporal changes from which the actual time series ontology can be generated automatically with semantic enrichment. This ontology can then be used for indexing and for mapping spatio-temporal regions and their names onto each other. As a proof-of-concept, the system has been applied to modeling the history municipalities of Finland in 1865–2010. We present the model, a tool for maintaining the change history in a user-friendly way, transformation of the place change history into an ontology time series with semantic enrichment, and publication of the ontology as a ready to use ontology services on the web with AJAX, Web Service, and REST interfaces. The system has been applied in the semantic cultural heritage portal CultureSampo for semantic search and recommendation, as well as an external service for indexing cultural heritage content, and for query expansion search in a legacy cultural heritage database system.


Geographic Information System Query Term Query Expansion Topological Relation Ontology Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is part of the National Semantic Web Ontology project in Finland19 (FinnONTO, 2003–2012), funded mainly by the National Technology and Innovation Agency (Tekes) and a consortium of 38 organizations, and the Cultural Foundation of Finland.


  1. 1.
    Ahmad, M.N., Colomb, R.M.: Managing ontologies: a comparative study of ontology servers. In: Proceedings of the eighteenth Conference on Australasian Database (ADC 2007), pp. 13–22. Australian Computer Society, Darlinghurst, Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anonymous: Changes in the names of new municipalities through municipality mergers in japan. In: Technical Papers of the 25th Session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN). Nairobi. Geographical Survey Institute, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bhogal, J., Macfarlane, A., Smith, P.: A review of ontology based query expansion. Information Processing & Management 43(4), 866–886 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bittner, T., Donnelly, M., Smith, B.: A spatio-temporal ontology for geographic information integration. Int. J. Geogr. Inf. Sci. 23(6), 765–798 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clementine, E., Felice, P.D., van Oosterom, P.: A small set of formal topological relationships suitable for end-user interaction. In: A. Abel, B.C. Ooi (eds.) Advances in databases, pp. 277–295. Springer–Verlag (1993)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    d’Aquin, M., Baldassarre, C., Gridinoc, L., Sabou, M., Angeletou, S., Motta, E.: Watson: Supporting next generation semantic web applications. In: Proceedings of IADIS International Conference on WWW/Internet. Vila Real, Portugal (2007)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    d’Aquin, M., Lewen, H.: Cupboard - a place to expose your ontologies to applications and the community. In: Proceedings of the ESWC 2009, Heraklion, Greece, pp. 913–918. Springer–Verlag (2009)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ding, L., Finin, T., Joshi, A., Pan, R., Cost, R.S., Peng, Y., Reddivari, P., Doshi, V., Sachs, J.: Swoogle: a search and metadata engine for the semantic web. In: Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, pp. 652–659. ACM (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ding, Y., Fensel, D.: Ontology library systems: The key to successful ontology reuse. In: Proceedings of SWWS’01, The first Semantic Web Working Symposium, Stanford University, USA, pp. 93–112 (2001)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fu, G., Jones, C.B., Abdelmoty, A.I.: Ontology-based spatial query expansion in information retrieval. In: On The Move to Meaningful Internet Systems: ODBASE 2005, Agia Napa, Cyprus, pp. 1466–1482. Springer–Verlag (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Grenon, P., Smith, B.: SNAP and SPAN: Prolegomenon to geodynamic ontology. Spatial Cognition and Computation 4(1), 69–104 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gutierrez, C., Hurtado, C., Vaisman, A.: Temporal RDF. In: 2nd European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC2005), pp. 93–107. Heraklion, Greece (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Haase, P., van Harmelen, F., Huang, Z., Stuckenschmidt, H., Sure, Y.: A framework for handling inconsistency in changing ontologies. In: International Semantic Web Conference, pp. 563–577. Springer (Galway, Ireland, November 6-10,2005)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hollink, L., Schreiber, G., Wielinga, B.: Patterns of semantic relations to improve image content search. Journal of Web Semantics 5(3), 195–203 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Huang, Z., Stuckenschmidt, H.: Reasoning with multi-version ontologies: A temporal logic approach. In: International Semantic Web Conference, pp. 398–412 (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hyvönen, E.: Semantic Portals for Cultural Heritage. In: Staab and Studer [34] (2009)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hyvönen, E., Lindroos, R., Kauppinen, T., Henriksson, R.: An ontology service for geographical content. In: Poster Proceedings of the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2007), Busan, Korea (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hyvönen, E., Mäkelä, E., Kauppinen, T., Alm, O., Kurki, J., Ruotsalo, T., Seppälä, K., Takala, J., Puputti, K., Kuittinen, H., Viljanen, K., Tuominen, J., Palonen, T., Frosterus, M., Sinkkilä, R., Paakkarinen, P., Laitio, J., Nyberg, K.: CultureSampo—Finnish culture on the Semantic Web 2.0. Thematic perspectives for the end-user. In: Museums and the Web 2009 Proceedings. Archives & Museum Informatics, Toronto (2009).
  19. 19.
    Hyvönen, E., Viljanen, K., Tuominen, J., Seppälä, K.: Building a national semantic web ontology and ontology service infrastructure—the FinnONTO approach. In: Proceedings of the ESWC 2008, Tenerife, Spain. Springer–Verlag (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Järvelin, K., Kekäläinen, J., Niemi, T.: ExpansionTool: Concept-based query expansion and construction. Information Retrieval 4(3/4), 231–255 (2001)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jones, C.B., Abdelmoty, A.I., Fu, G.: Maintaining ontologies for geographical information retrieval on the web. In: On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems: ODBASE 2003, Sicily, Italy, pp. 934–951. Springer–Verlag (2003)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kauppinen, T., Deichstetter, C., Hyvönen, E.: Temp-o-map: Ontology-based search and visualization of spatio-temporal maps. In: Demo track at the European Semantic Web Conference ESWC 2007, Innsbruck, Austria. Springer–Verlag (2007)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kauppinen, T., Hyvönen, E.: Modeling and Reasoning about Changes in Ontology Time Series, pp. 319–338. In: Kishore et al. [26] (2007)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kauppinen, T., Paakkarinen, P., Eetu Mäkelä Heini Kuittinen, J.V., Hyvönen, E.: Geospatio-temporal semantic web for cultural heritage. In: Digital Culture and E-Tourism: Technologies, Applications and Management Approaches. IGI Global, Hershey, Pennsylvania (2011)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kauppinen, T., Väätäinen, J., Hyvönen, E.: Creating and using geospatial ontology time series in a semantic cultural heritage portal. In: Proceedings of the ESWC 2008, Tenerife, Spain, pp. 110–123. Springer–Verlag (2008)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kishore, R., Ramesh, R., Sharman, R. (eds.): Ontologies: A Handbook of Principles, Concepts and Applications in Information Systems. Springer–Verlag (2007)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Klein, M.: Change management for distributed ontologies. Ph.D. thesis, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2004)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Klein, M., Fensel, D.: Ontology versioning on the Semantic Web. In: Proceedings of the International Semantic Web Working Symposium (SWWS), pp. 75–91. Stanford University, California, USA (2001)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Noy, N., Klein, M.: Ontology evolution: Not the same as schema evolution. Knowledge and Information Systems 5 (2003)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Noy, N.F., Shah, N.H., Whetzel, P.L., Dai, B., Dorf, M., Griffith, N., Jonquet, C., Rubin, D.L., Storey, M.A., Chute, C.G., Musen, M.A.: BioPortal: ontologies and integrated data resources at the click of a mouse. Nucleic Acids Research 37(Web Server issue), 170–173 (2009)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pan, R., Ding, Z., Yu, Y., Peng, Y.: A bayesian network approach to ontology mapping. In: International Semantic Web Conference 2005, pp. 563–577. Springer–Verlag (Galway, Ireland, November 6-10,2005)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Pelekis, N., Theodoulidis, B., Kopanakis, I., Theodoridis, Y.: Literature review of spatiotemporal database models. The Knowledge Engineering Review 19, 235–274 (2005)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sider, T.: Four-Dimensionalism. An Ontology of Persistence and Time. Clarendon Press, Oxford (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Staab, S., Studer, R. (eds.): Handbook on ontologies (2nd Edition). Springer–Verlag (2009)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Stell, J.G., West, M.: A 4-dimensionalist mereotopology. In: A. Varzi, L. Vieu (eds.) Formal Ontology in Information Systems, pp. 261–272. IOS Press (2004)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Stojanovic, L.: Methods and tools for ontology evolution. Ph.D. thesis, University of Karlsruhe, Germany (2004)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Stuckenschmidt, H., Harmelen, F.V.: Information Sharing on the Semantic Web. Springer–Verlag (2004)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Tudhope, D., Alani, H., Jones, C.: Augmenting thesaurus relationships: Possibilities for retrieval. Journal of Digital Information 1(8) (2001)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Tuominen, J., Frosterus, M., Viljanen, K., Hyvönen, E.: ONKI SKOS server for publishing and utilizing SKOS vocabularies and ontologies as services. In: Proceedings of the ESWC 2009, Heraklion, Greece, pp. 768–780. Springer–Verlag (2009)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tuominen, J., Kauppinen, T., Viljanen, K., Hyvönen, E.: Ontology-based query expansion widget for information retrieval. In: Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Scripting and Development for the Semantic Web (SFSW 2009), 6th European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2009), vol. 449. CEUR Wokshop Proceedings, (2009)
  41. 41.
    Viljanen, K., Tuominen, J., Hyvönen, E.: Ontology libraries for production use: The Finnish ontology library service ONKI. In: Proceedings of the ESWC 2009, Heraklion, Greece, pp. 781–795. Springer–Verlag (2009)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Viljanen, K., Tuominen, J., Salonoja, M., Hyvönen, E.: Linked open ontology services. In: Workshop on Ontology Repositories and Editors for the Semantic Web (ORES 2010), the Extended Semantic Web Conference ESWC 2010, vol. 596. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, (2010)
  43. 43.
    Visser, U.: Intelligent information integration for the Semantic Web. Springer–Verlag (2004)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Voorhees, E.M.: Query expansion using lexical-semantic relations. In: Proceedings of the 17th annual international ACM SIGIR conference on Research and development in information retrieval, Dublin, Ireland, pp. 61–69. ACM (1994)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Wang, Y.C., Vandendorpe, J., Evens, M.: Relational thesauri in information retrieval. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 36(1), 15–27 (1985)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    West, M.: Replaceable parts: A four dimensional analysis. In: COSIT-03 - Workshop on fundamental issues in spatial and geographic ontologies. Ittingen, Switzerland (2003)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eero Hyvönen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jouni Tuominen
  • Tomi Kauppinen
  • Jari Väätäinen
  1. 1.Aalto UniversityAaltoFinland

Personalised recommendations