“In this paper, we have presented some reasons why ontologies for geographic objects will differ from the ontologies of everyday objects commonly examined by philosophers and cognitive scientists. For one thing, topology and part-whole relations appear to be much more important in the geographic domain. Research on this topic must be careful to distinguish the domain of the real world from the domain of computational and mathematical representations, and both of these from the cognitive domain of reasoning, language, and human action. Human practice is an important part of the total ontology. Cultural differences in categorizations are more likely to be found for geographic entities than for objects at table-top scales. Geographic ontologies are more strongly focused on boundaries, and a typology of boundaries is critical. Work involving formal comparisons of geospatial and cartographic data standards and dictionary definitions in a variety of languages will provide an important starting point for the cross-cultural experiments with human subjects that will be needed to refine the details of the ultimate ontology of geographic kinds.” (Smith & Mark, 1998)



Holt-Jensen, A. (1999).Geography - History and Concepts : A Student's Guide. 3rd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications

Smith, B., & Mark, D. M. (1998 in press) Ontology and geographic kinds. Proceedings, International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling, Vancouver, Canada. 12-15 July.

Raper, J. F. (2000) Multidimensional geographic information science. London, Taylor and Francis.




Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 10-03-2007