Ontology of common sense geographic phenomena: Foundations for interoperable multilingual geospatial databases

In 3rd AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science. pp. 32-34 (2000)
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Information may be defined as the conceptual or communicable part of the content of mental acts. The content of mental acts includes sensory data as well as concepts, particular as well as general information. An information system is an external (non-mental) system designed to store such content. Information systems afford indirect transmission of content between people, some of whom may put information into the system and others who are among those who use the system. In order for communication to happen, the conceptual systems of the originators and users of the information must be sufficiently similar. A formal conceptual framework that can provide the basis for exchange of information is termed an ontology. In its most fundamental form, ontology studies the most basic constituents of reality. Traditionally, ontology seeks to reflects structures that are independent of thought and cognition. The term ontology is used more broadly in artificial intelligence and software engineering, to refer to the conceptual basis for an information system.

Author Profiles

Berit Brogaard
University of Miami
Barry Smith
University at Buffalo


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