From VoCamp Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


VoCamps are hands-on, working meetings where teams can spend some dedicated time creating lightweight vocabularies/ontologies for project use including publication on Semantic Web. The emphasis is not to attempt to create the ultimate ontology in a particular domain, but to create integrated vocabularies with lightweight semantics that are good enough for people to start using for publishing data on the Web. We seek clarified agreement & reduced ambiguities/ conflicts on geospatial/earth science phenomena that can be formally represented in:

  1. Constrained, engineered models to support understanding, reasoning & data interoperability and/or
  2. Creation of general patterns that provide a common framework to generate ontologies that are consistent and can support interoperability.

We like data-grounded work since:

  • Much of the utility of geospatial ontologies will likely come from their ability to relate geospatial data to other kinds of information.

The strategy of the session is to follow a "paper first, laptops second" format, where the modelling is done initially on paper and only later committed to formalization as ontology design patterns or ODPs.

For more see an overview of VoCamp methods and for an introduction to ontology design patterns and development methods see the briefing from prior DCVocamps.

For a slide overview of ODPs see Valentina Presutti's introduction and for an example of an ODP see Activity Pattern by Yingjie Hu

Where, When and How[edit]


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Center 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192

We will assemble in Conference Room 1B215 before breaking into work groups later in the day. Other rooms 2A303C (smallest room) & 3B457

Note, registered people will first go through a simple, guard check by the entrance before proceeding to the meeting room. We will have your name printed out on a sheet to simplify the process.

We will provide WebEx information on this site before the meetings start.


We have now started organizing a DC VoCamp 2015 workshop. This will serve as follow-up to previous DC & SOCoP workshops/VoCamps in which a number of ontology design patterns have been crated, published and used. This year's VoCamp will take place at the USGS National facility starting at noon on Monday, Nov. 30th and conclude mid-afternoon Dec.2nd in Reston VA.

How (including Draft Schedule)[edit]

As in prior years we will meet as a group and be organized into breakouts around 2- 3 Work Groups made up of domain experts, group facilitators and people with semantic/ontological experience.

The conference call-in number is (1-866-687-7995). See the Logistics section for WebEx access information.

                                The following is a Agenda with links to the briefings and slides

Monday Afternoon, Nov. 30th, 2015[edit]

12:30-1:00 Welcome, Introductions, Logistics and Schedule Overview Room 1B215 Gary's Intro slides Note – This session includes WebEx as a virtual meeting

1:00- 1:25 Workshop Descartes Core Vision, Strategy & Methods slides- Gary Berg-Cross

1:25 -1:45 Overview of the new VoCamp GitHub repository for Products, Briefings etc. Charles Vardeman.

1:45 -2:45 Working Topics (Presented by Topic Leaders)

    • Physical Samples (Steve Richard)
    • 3 D spatial Patterns [slides] (Vardeman)
    • Topographic Eminences and Terrain Convexities slides (Sinha)

2:45- 3:00 Break

3:00-4:45 Group organization and introductions - setting goals and process in 3 “Breakout Rooms”. Remote participation & presentations as decided by Topic Leaders

4:45-5:30 Group Reports to the Whole – Main room as a virtual meeting

Tuesday Dec. 1[edit]

   9:00~9:15 Updates, Q & A etc. (schedule etc.) Main room

9:15-10:45 Group Work on Concepts, Vocabulary and Model (Breakout Rooms)

  • 10:45 - 11:00 Group Break

11:00-12:15 Group Work on Draft Models (Breakout Rooms)

12:15 -1:15 Lunch and Networking – USGS cafeteria

1:15- 2:45 Work Groups – draft final conceptual model (Breakout Rooms)

2:45- 3:15 Work Groups identify data to test model & Prepare initial formalizations

  3:15-3:30 Break   3:30-4:30 Prepare Brief Back Report (Breakout Rooms)

4:30-5:30 Interim Group reports and discussion Main Room (Broadcast as Virtual Meeting)

Wed. Dec. 2[edit]

9:00-9:15 Updates, Q & A etc. (schedule, GiTHub effort etc.) Main Meeting Room

9:15- 9:45 Presentation by Pascal Hitzler, formalization and other thoughts based on Physical Sample group work

9:45-10:45 Work Groups Firming up products and alignments (Breakout Rooms)

10:45-11:00 Break (USGS cafeteria etc. )

11:00-12:00 Prepare group reports and plans for follow up(Breakout Rooms)

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

1:00 ~ 2:30 Group reports & Wrap up (Main Room)

A focus has been continuation and expansion of work from prior workshops including work on Ontology Design Patterns and the Descartes Core started on in 2012. New topics such as a Settings pattern are started at particular meetings based on the interest of the participants.

While this is a face-to-face workshop we do offer some remote access forbra the introductory session on Nov. 30th where methods and initial topics are discussed. Material before, during and after the VoCamp are available and as part of this workshop and approach to storing material on GitHub will be explored.

People interested in knowing more about this workshop can email local organizer Gary Berg-Cross (

We thank the USGS for providing space and support for this event held at the USG facility in Reston VA.[edit]

The 3 rooms we have are really great with notepads, internet access an speaker phones. The main meeting room will accommodate 30 people, and the 2nd and 3rd floor rooms are comfortable for group discussion.

What Topics[edit]

Topics are proposed by attendees and may or may not be adopted depending on interest. Our meetings start off with an introduction to methods, discussion of past workshop and published vocabularies and patterns. As needed we have remote presentations the first day to accommodate people working on relevant topics who are unable to attend in person. In addition we invite interested ontologists to comment on the vocabularies and conceptual models developed in the first day or two and to provide ideas on improved semantics and the state of the art in ontology design pattern development. Two or three of these 20-30 sessions are possible during this workshop. As examples see Descartes Core briefing by Krzysztof Janowicz and Some Thoughts on Ontology and Pattern Development by Torsten Hahmann, each from the 2014 DC VoCamp.

There are 3 topic discussions already underway that will will be briefed at the start of the workshop and will likely continue as organized group work during the meeting depending on interest and available resources. These are:

Physical Sample

One topic concerns the effort by a group of people devoted to modeling ontology design patterns for key notions related to physical samples which has been explored in several projects. As part of the IGSN Architecture RCN ( and there is an IGSN metadata kernel that provides a focus. See the ISGN schema page at for more.

There is also related work in NSF EarthCube projects & ISAMPLE, . Contact Kerstin Lehnert <> or Bob Arko <> for details. This is an opportunity to discuss some of the issues still percolating about the IGSN architecture and Physical Samples. There are issues of proper distinctions between Sites and features in the top level metadata kernel as well as adding details below in a sub-schema describing stateful info and the sub-profile idea still need work. There is, for example, also the messy but critical issue of 3D which seems important to capture about ocean depth and relative depth. This topic will build on prior vocabulary efforts such as ODM2 and modeling of samples, specimens and sample complexes.

3 D spatial Patterns

The above work on Samples may connect to another topic proposed by Chuck Vardeman(Notre Dame) concerning extension of GeoSPARQL to accommodate 3d geometries and geometric operations (RCC8) in query operations (extension functions). One motivation and use case for integration of data comes from Building Industry standards, such as IFC, integrated with OGC standards such as CityGML which contain city planning information. This topic might want to start as a brief "scouting party" to identify topics and work that would need to be done to facilitate use of 3d versions of GML and WKT literals. We might form a combined group on the 3D issues if there is interest.

Topographic Eminences and Terrain Convexities

This topic is the latest effort to create small terrain ontologies. This topic is being organized by Gaurav Sinha (, Ohio University), David Mark (University at Buffalo) and Chen-Chieh Feng (National University of Singapore), and is open to everyone interested.

The motivation for this work is two-fold: formalizing and promoting semantic interoperability between topographic standards; and extraction and semantic annotation of topographic eminences based on datasets representing elevation and land cover fields. The tentative plan is to explore how best to formalize some general concepts and categories that can be used to describe topographic eminences, their parts/aggregates and other terrain convexities. The first half of the workshop will focus on vocabulary analysis of entity types listed in various topographic standards to decide how we can rely on some fundamental concepts (e.g., location, shape (geometric & topological), mereology, material constitution/cover, and cultural function) to characterize and distinguish entity types related to eminences and terrain convexities. The second half of the workshop will be focused on formalizing the emerging conceptual model as a simple ontology and/or decision tree that will clarify the intended semantics and also help in reasoning about entity types and geospatial representation of instances of those types.

Background readings are available for download here:

Logistics: GitHub Files, Wireless and Remote Access[edit]

Thanks to USGS we will have wireless access for participants from Monday afternoon till we conclude Wed. afternoon. New wireless login:

  • username: vocamp1
  • Password: usgs1234

The conference call-in number (1-866-687-7995)

E. Lynn Usery has ​provided this info to join ​the VocCampDC​ meeting on the Web, using WebEx USGS

​Please use this if you can't attend all of the meeting and pass it on to interested parties.​

Topic: (19) SOCoP Workshop Date: Every day, from Monday, November 30, 2015, to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 Time: 8:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00) Meeting number: 356 753 175 Meeting password: (This meeting does not require a password.)

Please click the link below to see more information, or to join the meeting.

Although no login account is required to use Webex to attend a meeting, you will need to supply your name, email address, and a meeting password (if provided) to join the meeting.

When it is time to attend the meeting, please visit this link:

Teleconference: 1-866-687-7995; Passcode: 3591681#

  • Please* check and prepare your computer a day or two

in advance of the meeting as follows: 1. Start your web browser 2. Visit 3. Select Setup / Meeting manager (left side of page)

For Help with WebEx - WebEx setup help: 1-866-229-3239 - Info:, click USGS Help (at left) - USGS account questions:

To contact E. Lynn Usery, call 1-573-308-3837 or send a message to this address:

  • Products from the Vocamp can be found the Vocamp github repository.
  • Talks and group reports are found in the VocampDC 2015 repository.

BTW Tweet: #geovocampdc15

See last year's schedule for an idea of the general schedule, access and briefings on topics.

Organizers and Participants[edit]

  • Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP) (general & local coordinator)
  • Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB)
  • Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University)
  • Charles F. Vardeman (University of Notre Dame)
  • Lynn Usery (USGS)
  • Kerstin Lehnert (Columbia University)
  • Torsten Hahmann (University of Maine)

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


(add your name)

  • Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP)
  • Lynn Usery (USGS)
  • Samantha Arundel (USGS CEGIS)
  • Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University)
  • Charles F. Vardeman (University of Notre Dame)
  • Kerstin Lehnert (Columbia) first day only
  • Steve Richard (University of Arizona)
  • Rick Hooper (CUAHSI)
  • Joshua Lieberman (Harvard)
  • Boleslo E. Romero (UCSB)
  • David Mark (University of Buffalo)
  • John Deck (Berkeley Natural History Museums, University of California at Berkeley)
  • Kathleen E Stewart (University of Maryland) first 2 days only
  • Briana Sullivan ( University of New Hampshire)
  • Chen-Chieh from NUS (Singapore) & UIUC
  • Richard Markeloff (Raytheon BBN Technologies)
  • Tim Zimmerlin (Automation Technologies)
  • Kelly Hatfield (Software Engineer, Tactical Edge)
  • Marco Neumann (Lotico Washington Semantic Web) may not be all days
  • Lamar Henderson (ChairBuilding Life-Cycle/Information Modeling Ontology Project (BLIMOP) buildingSMARTalliance (bSa) National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS))

Feel free to contact our overall coordinator - Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP Secretary) If you have trouble editing participants I can help.

Not sure if I can attend, but interested[edit]

  • Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB)
  • Torsten Hahmann (University of Maine)
  • Todd Pehle
  • Boyan Brodaric (NRCan/RNCan)
  • Terry Longstreth
  • ....

Would like to participate remotely[edit]

  • Marshall Ma (rpi)
  • Alex Sorokine (Oak Ridge)
  • WenWen Li (Arizona State)
  • Robert Rovetto (Buffalo)
  • Ouida Meier (University of Hawaii)
  • Nancy Wiegand (University of Wisconsin)

Would like to, but can't[edit]

  • Bob Arko (Columbia)
  • Pascal Hitzler (Wright State)
  • Scott Peckham (U of Colorado)
  • Brandon Whitehead (Auckland)

(add your name)

Directions to USGS[edit]

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Center 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192 Directions to the USGS from the Beltway (I-495): Take the Dulles Toll Road west to exit 12, Reston Parkway. Turn left (south) onto Reston Parkway. At second light, turn right onto Sunrise Valley Drive and at second light, turn left at USGS Drive. A sign will indicate visitors parking. To get to the USGS by Metrobus and Metrorail: A bus comes to the USGS from the West Falls Church Metro Station (Orange Line). For exact information regarding bus number, fares, and times of departure, call 202-637-7000 . Admission to the USGS building: Follow signs from the Visitors Parking. You show an ID there to park. It is a simple walk to the visitor's entrance which is marked on the building. All visitors must enter at the Visitors Entrance and pass through a security screening process.

All packages, briefcases, handbags, etc. will be scanned. Visitors must sign in and present a picture identification, such as a State driver’s license here as you did for parking. The guard will then issue a visitor’s badge/tag that must be worn at all times.

We will have a list of people who signed up to attend. This may help speed things up. I (Gary) will try to be around to help as needed.

It is a short walk to 1B215.

Local Accommodations[edit]

As in previous years choices include: The Sheraton Reston Hotel, 11810 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191 is where most of our visitors have stayed. Listed at $129 and up. There is a free shuttle to USGS on the half hour and you can call for pickup at nearby restaurants (~ mile limit so check carefully.

Others Westin Reston Heights (rated # 2 at 4.0 of 5) and listed at $139 and up. 11750 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191 There may be a shuttle from there also. The shuttle runs to the Metro every half an hour on the top and bottom from 7am-10pm. Extended Stay America - Washington, D.C. - Reston 12190 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA 20190 2.0 of 5 $90 and up

Hampton Inn & Suites Herndon-Reston (rated 2.5 of 5 by TripAdvisor) is $110 and up a night. 435 Herndon Parkway, Herndon, VA 20170

Other Nearby Hotels

Candlewood Suites Washington, Dulles Herndon is $80 and up, 13845 Sunrise Valley Drive, Herndon, VA 20171 (1 877-859-5095)

Hyatt Regency Reston (rated 4.0 of 5 on TripAdvisor) but expensive. Listed at $143 and up but might be closer to $150 1800 Presidents Street, Reston, VA 20190

Of course if you have friends in the area they may have some space for you..