REAL TIME SEMANTIC INTEROPERABILITY IN AD HOC NETWORKS OF GEOSPATIAL DATA SOURCES: CHALLENGES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERSPECTIVES
Keywords: Semantic interoperability, ad hoc networks, geospatial databases
Abstract. Recent advances in geospatial technologies have made available large amount of geospatial data. Meanwhile, new developments in Internet and communication technologies created a shift from isolated geospatial databases to ad hoc networks of geospatial data sources, where data sources can join or leave the network, and form groups to share data and services. However, effective integration and sharing of geospatial data among these data sources and their users are hampered by semantic heterogeneities. These heterogeneities affect the spatial, temporal and thematic aspects of geospatial concepts. There have been many efforts to address semantic interoperability issues in the geospatial domain. These efforts were mainly focused on resolving heterogeneities caused by different and implicit representations of the concepts. However, many approaches have focused on the thematic aspects, leaving aside the explicit representation of spatial and temporal aspects. Also, most semantic interoperability approaches for networks have focused on automating the semantic mapping process. However, the ad hoc network structure is continuously modified by source addition or removal, formation of groups, etc. This dynamic aspect is often neglected in those approaches. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for real time semantic interoperability in ad hoc networks of geospatial data sources. The conceptual framework presents the fundamental elements of real time semantic interoperability through a hierarchy of interrelated semantic states and processes. Then, we use the conceptual framework to set the discussion on the achievements that have already been made, the challenges that remain to be addressed and perspectives with respect to these challenges.