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The Spatial Ontology Community of Practice (SOCoP) along with others conducted a GeoVoCamp Nov. 18-19, 2013 as follow-up to prior GeoVoCamps including those held in Santa Barbara, Dayton and DC in 2012 and at Santa Barbara CA in 2013.

We thank the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program (NITRD) for providing space and support for this event held at the NSF facility in Ballston VA. As with previous workshops this will be organized around 3-4 Work Groups. A focus was continuation from prior workshops including work on Ontology Design Patterns and the Descartes Core started on in 2012.

People interested in knowing more about this workshop can email local organizer Gary Berg-Cross ( As with prior SOCoP workshops \ a telecon and WebeX was available for general sessions.

Where and When[edit]

This GeoVoCamp took place in Ballston VA at the NSF facility on Nov 18-19 (M-T) 2013 from 9-5. Note that this was a change from the previously announced date of Nov 13-14 due in part of a conflict with other conferences in DC.

The meeting was held in the Stafford II building.

See for a map that shows the buildings and nearby restaurants.

What Topics[edit]

A group has been formed to discuss “Surface Water” - how water sits in terrain. This is a continuation of last year's (GeoVoCampDC2012) terrain and surface network concepts work. This builds on a USGS effort to develop ontologies and ontology patterns useful in multifarious applications, such as environmental modeling and the Earth Sciences.

CUAHSI which had expressed an interest in participating was not able to attend, but may at fututre meetings.

A 2nd topic under consideration concerns possible ontology design patterns for Green Building Architecture which would serve as a follow on to the recent Sustainable Data Community Forum workshop. In this session ontologies and semantic database experts will analyze ways to expand current capabilities for sustainability data acquisition, discovery, and sharing by the wider professional and academic architecture communities. Sustainability associated with the construction of our built environment and of the materials used in the process of creating this environment is an important topic of concern. One metric of this sustainability is embodied energy; a quantity that is derived from the energy cost to take raw material from the earth, transport that material to a manufacturing site, transform that material into a building material object, transport of the object to a building construction site, and assembly into a structure. Embodied energy also considers end of lifetime energy costs associated with disassembling the structure into its final constituents and transport of these constituents to a site for disposal. However, as pointed out by Dixit et. al. issues exist with the consistency, quality and availability of this embodied energy data as well as the necessity to account for geospatial variation of embodied energy data.[1] The hope is that use of (geo-) ontology design patterns will allow data needed to address this knowledge gap to become tractable.

To this end, the building process can be potentially described using the Semantic Trajectory[2] and Transport[3] ontology design patterns developed at previous vocamps. One additional pattern, that of Transformation, is required to describe the “event” associated with taking material and energy to derive a new object according to a plan. The Semantic Trajectory pattern provides a mechanism to describe the movement of an object to the location of a transformation event (a POI:Place) and the transport pattern can be used to extend the Trajectory (TransportMechanism) pattern to account for energy required for transporting an object. The pattern can be reused to describe the manufacturing-construction process in terms of a collection of Transformation and Transportation events resulting in artifacts of increasing complexity.

[1] M. K. Dixit, J. Fernández-Solis, S. Lavy, and C. H. Culp, “Identification of parameters for embodied energy measurement: A literature review,” Energy & Buildings, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1238–1247, Aug. 2010.

[2] Y. Hu, K. Janowicz, D. Carral, S. Scheider, W. Kuhn, G. Berg-Cross, P. Hitzler, M. Dean, and D. Kolas, “A Geo-ontology Design Pattern for Semantic Trajectories,” in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 8116, T. Tenbrink, J. Stell, A. Galton, and Z. Wood, Eds. Springer International Publishing, 2013, pp. 438–456.

[3] B. Whitehead, B. Adams, M. Schildhauer, C. Vardeman, W. Kuhn, A. Shepard, and K. Sinha, “Abstracting Transport to an Ontology Design Pattern for the Geosciences,” presented at the ISWC 2013.

A 3rd topic proposed by George Planansky, Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA), is one of ontology patterns to help semantic annotation of maps . The goals of work would be:

(a) development of map annotations using the Open Annotation Data Model, 
(b) making open linked data resources part of an annotation vocabulary, and
(c) developing Ontology Design Patterns (ODPs) for the construction of such map annotations.   



  • Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP) (general & local coordinator)
  • Krzysztof Janowicz (jano) (UCSB)
  • Pascal Hitzler (Wright State University, US)
  • Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University)
  • Charles F. Vardeman (University of Notre Dame)
  • George Planansky (Harvard University)

Feel Free to contact our overall coordinator - Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP Secretary)


(add your name)

  1. Dalia E Varanka, USGS
  2. Dr. Charles F. Vardeman, University of Notre Dame, Center for Research Computing
  3. Dr. George Planansky, Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis
  4. Dr. Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB)
  5. Dr. Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP)
  6. Dr. Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University)
  7. Michelle Cheatham (Wright State University)
  8. Adila Krisnadhi (Wright State University)
  9. Deborah MacPherson (Cannon Design)
  10. James Wilson (JMU, first day only)
  11. Lynn Usery (USGS)
  12. Chen-Chieh Feng (Geography, NUS)
  13. Aimee Buccellato (University of Notre Dame, School of Architecture)
  14. Holly Ferguson (University of Notre Dame, Computer Science and Engineering)
  15. Natalie Meyers (University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Libraries, second day only)
  16. Chen Chieh Feng (NUS Singapore)
  17. David Mark (SUNY, Buffalo)
  18. Torsten Hahmann (U of Maine)
  19. Alexandre Sorokine (ORNL)
  20. Joshua Lieberman (Consultant, OGC)
  21. Todd Pehle (Orbis Technology)
  22. Lamar Henderson (Design Ecology NCARB CSI LEEDtmAP)
  23. Boleslo Romero (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  24. Dave Kolas (Raytheon/BBN) Probably

Not sure[edit]

  1. Adam Shepherd (WHOI)
  2. Brandon Whitehead (University of Auckland)
  3. ....

Would like to, but can't[edit]

  1. Yingjie Hu, UCSB
  2. Kai Cao, (University of Pittsburgh)
  3. Dr. Pascal Hitzler (Wright State University)
  4. Kai Cao, (University of Pittsburgh)

Local Organization Team[edit]

Gary Berg-Cross is working with Fouad Ramia (Systems Engineer and FASTER Coordinator, NCO/NITRD, 703-292-8128 ramia@nitrd.govand & Angela Carter (NITRD 703-292-7932

Schedule and Agenda[edit]

We will follow the same general timetable as the 2012 meeting at USGS. The following is the Current Draft Agenda and Schedule for the 2013 SOCoP workshop

Monday Nov. 18 9:00 - 9:10 Introductions, Welcome, Logistics and Schedule Overview –SOCoP/NITRD NSF II-555: Note Morning session includes WebEx as a virtual meeting

9:10-9:20 Workshop Vision and Strategy- Gary Berg-Cross

9:20 -10:30 Working Topics (Presented by Topic Leaders)

  1. Krzysztof Janowicz - Descartes Core
  2. Charles Vardemann - Transformation Pattern
  3. Deborah MacPherson - Semantic Tools �for Buildings
  4. David Mark - Surface Water

10:30-10:45 Brief Recap on Group Methods- Gary Berg-Cross

10:45-11:00 Break (Coffee available)

11:00-12:00 Group organization and inductions - setting goals and process

Breakout Rooms NSF II-545, NSF II-565, & if needed NSF II-575

Note telecoms are available if group agrees to them.

12:00 -1:00 Lunch and Networking - On your Own

1:00- 2:45 Group Work on Concepts, Vocabulary and Model (Breakout Rooms)

2:45- 3:00 Break

3:00 -4:15 Group Work on Draft Models (Breakout Rooms)

4:15-5:00 Group Reports to the Whole - NSF II-555:includes WebEx as a virtual meeting

Post 5 – Groups may make arrangements for dinner on their own

Tuesday Nov 19

9:00-9:15 Updates, Q & A etc. (schedule etc.) NSF II-555

9:15-10:45 Work Groups – draft final model & initial formalizations (Breakout Rooms)

10:45-11:00 Break (Coffee available)

11:00-12:15 Work Groups (Breakout Rooms)

12:15 -1:15 Lunch and Networking - On your Own

1:15- 2:45 Firming up products and testing against data (Breakout Rooms) 2:45- 3:15 Prepare Report (Breakout Rooms)

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30-4:30 Group reports NSF II-555 (Broadcast as Virtual Meeting)

4:30-5:00 Wrap up NSF II-555 (Broadcast as Virtual Meeting)

See for details

Ontological Humor[edit]

We now have a tradition of semantic or ontology jokes as part of VoCamp workshops. You can see some of the ones generated at our Monday night dinner and afterwards here.

Sample - Profs at SUNY Buffalo are committed to all driving to work in the same type of car. What is it?

   A  Fiat.

Directions to NSF[edit]

The National Science Foundation main building is Stafford Place I it is located 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. This is in the Ballston area of North Arlington, Virginia, between Wilson Boulevard and Fairfax Drive, one block south of the Ballston-Marymount University Metro stop on the Orange Line. The building's main entrance is located at the corner of 9th and Stuart Streets. Go there first to get a badge as a registered participant. Our meeting will take place in the Stafford Place II building which is nearby and there will be directions as you pick up your badge.

Parking is available in the Ballston Common mall, in the NSF building, and at other area parking lots and garages. Metered parking is also available on the surrounding streets.

Visitors are asked to check at the Visitor and Reception Center, on the first floor to receive a visitor pass, before going on to meetings, appointments, or other business at the NSF. Visitors bringing computers into NSF will have them tested for security at the main meeting room.

Local Accommodations[edit]

Walking Distance hotels Include: Comfort Inn Ballston 1211 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201

Holiday Inn Arlington At Ballston 4610 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203 877-859-5095

The Westin Arlington Gateway 801 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203 703 717-6200