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Question Based Analysis


Joris Wieleman defended his MSc thesis

Congratulations to Joris Wieleman who successfully completed and defended his MSc thesis titled “The semantic structure of spatial questions in human geography“. You can find the abstract below and download the thesis here.


Due to a growing demand for spatial computing and an unlimited amount of possible spatial questions, there is a need to find common structures that repeat among questions in order to handle the variety. This would allow analysts to be better able to find the most optimal GIS tools and data. Consequently, this research project has investigated the semantic structure of spatial questions in Human Geography. The key to understanding the semantic structure of spatial questions lies in understanding the relations between the different pieces of information which are contained within a question. These relations are represented in a new lightweight ontology, the Spatial Question Ontology (SQO). The main purpose of SQO is to enable the description of all the information contained within spatial questions, which is necessary to answer the question, in a machine-readable format. Key elements which are covered by the ontology include: spatial data structure, question types, the spatiotemporal limitations of a question and core concepts of spatial information (e.g. object, field, event), which enable analysts to answer different kinds of spatial questions. In order to validate the ontology, a collection of spatial question from human geographic scientific literature was formalized into a Linked Data format. Geospatial ontologies such as SQO can be used for automated reasoning and could possibly enable a machine to find out whether a resource is applicable for a certain geo-analytical task. This may ultimately form the basis for question-based tool interaction and data analysis.