Leveraging ontologies for environmental information systems
The provision of accurate, comprehensive and condensed information contained in distributed environmental information systems via public search interfaces raises several technological challenges. Our approach to tackle these challenges is based on a consequent use of ontologies. Starting with an analysis of requirements resulting from semantic search scenarios, we explain the advantages of using ontologies based on standards and aim to reuse and transform terminological systems available in the environmental domain into ontologies. We develop an architecture guided by the premise of exerting a minimum of influence on existing search infrastructures. As a consequence of using a (possibly large) number of ontologies, tools for ontology management are needed. A key argument for using ontologies is that nowadays - as an outcome of the Semantic Web initiative - very powerful processing tools are available. We elaborate ontology mapping as an example and outline how a comprehensive ontology management can be achieved.