Representing Ecological Niches in a Conceptual Model

  • Daniel T. Semwayo
  • Sonia Berman
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3289)


The niche concept has been recognised as a fundamental notion in biological and business systems, amongst others. Existing data models do not have adequate primitives that faithfully represent ecological niches for geographical information systems. This paper shows the limitations of the status quo, manifested in semantic heterogeneity and the meaningless integration of ecological data sets. We advocate an ontological engineering approach to ecological data modelling and propose two new data modelling primitives, Functional object granules [FOGs] and Functional Contexts, which can be used to represent niches. We present our data modelling environment, OntoCrucible, and illustrate our model and methodology in the context of a case study involving African smallholder farmer upliftment.


Geographical Information System Smallholder Farmer Functional Context Ontological Engineering Semantic Heterogeneity 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel T. Semwayo
    • 1
  • Sonia Berman
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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