An Ontology for Spatial Regulations
The last decade improving access of legal sources using ICT and especially the Internet has lead to various internet portals for accessing textual sources, standardisation of those sources using W3C standards such as XML for describing the structure of such documents and meta standards such as MetaLex [1,2]. In order to improve access to spatial regulations we should establish a successful marriage between geographical information systems based technology and a machine readable regulative framework, allowing connecting regulations as described in legal sources to an object oriented representation of the real world such as a zoning plan. This paper describes the architecture of an application developed for improving access to spatial regulations, integrating different sources such as GIS (Geographical Information Systems) information, maps and textual legal sources. This application called Legal Atlas uses a relatively compact ontology in OWL for combining spatial planning information in GML (Geographical Mark-up Language) with legal sources described in MetaLex XML. We will explain this ontology and the way it is used to support users in accessing spatial regulations, starting either from querying a map based interface of a text based one, i.e. starting from the spatial perspective or from the normative perspective.
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