An ontology for grounding vague geographic terms

Bennett, B.; Mallenby, D. and Third, A. (2008). An ontology for grounding vague geographic terms. In: Eschenbach, Carola and Grüninger, Michael eds. Proceedings of the 2008 Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference (FOIS 2008). IOS Press, pp. 280–293.


Many geographic terms, such as “river” and “lake”, are vague, with no clear boundaries of application. In particular, the spatial extent of such features is often vaguely carved out of a continuously varying observable domain. We present a means of defining vague terms using standpoint semantics, a refinement of the philosophical idea of supervaluation semantics. Such definitions can be grounded in actual data by geometric analysis and segmentation of the data set. The issues raised by this process with regard to the nature of boundaries and domains of logical quantification are discussed. We describe a prototype implementation of a system capable of segmenting attributed polygon data into geographically significant regions and evaluating queries involving vague geographic feature terms.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions