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GeoNames Ontology

The Semantic Web

The Semantic Web is a project that intends to add computer-processable meaning (semantics) to the Word Wide Web.

In Feb 2004, The World Wide Web Consortium released the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the OWL Web Ontology Language (OWL) as W3C Recommendations. RDF is used to represent information and to exchange knowledge in the Web. OWL is used to publish and share sets of terms called ontologies, supporting advanced Web search, software agents and knowledge management.

The GeoNames Ontology

The GeoNames Ontology makes it possible to add geospatial semantic information to the Word Wide Web. All over 8.3 million geonames toponyms now have a unique URL with a corresponding RDF web service. Other services describe the relation between toponyms.

The Ontology for GeoNames is available in OWL : http://www.geonames.org/ontology/ontology_v3.1.rdf, mappings

GeoNames is using 303 (See Other) redirection to distinguish the Concept (thing as is) from the Document about it.

For the town Embrun in France we have these two URIs :
[1] http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/
[2] http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/about.rdf

The first URI [1] stands for the town in France. You use this URI if you want to refer to the town. The second URI [2] is the document with the information geonames has about Embrun. The geonames web server is configured to redirect requests for [1] to [2]. The redirection tells Semantic Web Agents that Embrun is not residing on the geonames server but that geonames has information about it instead. See our blog posting about "Concept vs. Document" for more information.

An example of RDF description of a geonames "Feature" document, as obtained through the RDF Webservice at URI http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/about.rdf

<rdf:RDF 
	xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" 
	xmlns:dcterms="http://purl.org/dc/terms/" 
	xmlns:foaf="http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/" 
	xmlns:gn="http://www.geonames.org/ontology#" 
	xmlns:owl="http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#" 
	xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" 
	xmlns:rdfs="http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#" 
	xmlns:wgs84_pos="http://www.w3.org/2003/01/geo/wgs84_pos#">
<gn:Feature rdf:about="http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/">
  <rdfs:isDefinedBy rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/about.rdf"/>
  <gn:name>Embrun</gn:name>
  <gn:alternateName xml:lang="oc">Ambrun</gn:alternateName>
  <gn:featureClass rdf:resource="http://www.geonames.org/ontology#P"/>
  <gn:featureCode rdf:resource="http://www.geonames.org/ontology#P.PPL"/>
  <gn:countryCode>FR</gn:countryCode>
  <gn:population>7069</gn:population>
  <gn:postalCode>05200</gn:postalCode>
  <gn:postalCode>05201</gn:postalCode>
  <gn:postalCode>05202</gn:postalCode>
  <gn:postalCode>05208</gn:postalCode>
  <gn:postalCode>05209</gn:postalCode>
  <wgs84_pos:lat>44.56387</wgs84_pos:lat>
  <wgs84_pos:long>6.49526</wgs84_pos:long>
  <gn:parentFeature rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/6446638/"/>
  <gn:parentCountry rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/3017382/"/>
  <gn:parentADM1 rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/2985244/"/>
  <gn:parentADM2 rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/3013738/"/>
  <gn:parentADM3 rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/3016701/"/>
  <gn:parentADM4 rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/6446638/"/>
  <gn:nearbyFeatures rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/nearby.rdf"/>
  <gn:locationMap rdf:resource="http://www.geonames.org/3020251/embrun.html"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun%2C_Hautes-Alpes"/>
  <owl:seeAlso rdf:resource="http://dbpedia.org/resource/Embrun%2C_Hautes-Alpes"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun_%28Hautes-Alpes%29"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://oc.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrun"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun"/>
  <gn:wikipediaArticle rdf:resource="http://vo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrun_%28Hautes-Alpes%29"/>
</gn:Feature>
<foaf:Document rdf:about="http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/about.rdf">
  <foaf:primaryTopic rdf:about="http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/"/>
  <cc:license rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/"/>
  <cc:attributionURL rdf:resource="http://sws.geonames.org/3020251/"/>
  <cc:attributionName rdf:datatype="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#string">GeoNames</cc:attributionName>
  <dcterms:created rdf:datatype="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#date">2006-01-15</dcterms:created>
  <dcterms:modified rdf:datatype="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#date">2010-04-19</dcterms:modified>
</foaf:Document>
</rdf:RDF>

Linked Data

The Features in the GeoNames Semantic Web are interlinked with each other. Depending on applicability the following documents are available for a Feature :

The children (countries for a continent, administrative subdivisions for a country, ...). As an example the children of France : http://sws.geonames.org/3017382/contains.rdf

The neighbours (neigbouring countries). As an example the neighbours of France : http://sws.geonames.org/3017382/neighbours.rdf

Nearby features. Nearby to the Eiffel Tower are Champ de Mars,Trocadéro - Palais de Chaillot, ...: http://sws.geonames.org/6254976/nearby.rdf



For the time being the links between geonames and the French INSEE are available in separate documents only : régions et départments and arrondissements. These links will later be included in the web service documents. More information about the INSEE rdf documents on the INSEE website (in French).


Entry Points into the GeoNames Semantic Web

There are several ways how you can enter the GeoNames Semantic Web :


Contact

Bernard Vatant : Mondeca. (ontology)

Marc Wick (implementation)


More Information




Version History

2012 November, Version 3.1

2012 February, Version 3.0.1:

2010 October, Version 2.2.1: restore name properties, subproperties of skos labels.

2010 September, Version 2.2: use skos labels, add URIs for parent admin divisions.

2010 June, Version 2.1: changed inCountry to countryCode. Added Metadata for license information.

2007 Apr 02, Version 2.0 : added isOfficialName, locatedIn, relationships with GEMET concepts

2006 Oct 30, Version 1.2.3 : added labels for name and alternate names

2006 Oct 25, Version 1.2.2 : cosmetics

2006 Oct 23, Version 1.2.1 : linked data document with backlink to main feature.

2006 Oct 21, Version 1.2 : New URIs with 303 redirect, linked data (contains, neighbours, nearby)

2006 Oct 14, Version 1.0