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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 them as published data on the Web. We seek clarified agreement & reduced ambiguities/ conflicts on geospatial and other research phenomena that can be formally represented in:

Constrained, engineered models to support understanding, reasoning & data interoperability and/or Creation of conceptual models and 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 research ontologies will likely come from their ability to relate geospatial and other research 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 or [ Ontology modeling with domain experts: The GeoVoCamp experience] or Gary Berg-Cross's intro to GeoVocamps. For a slide overview of ODPs see Valentina Presutti's introduction and for an example of an ODP see A geo-ontology design pattern for semantic trajectories by Yingjie Hu et al

Where, When and How[edit]


We will start the meeting at 1101 Morrill Hall on the University of Maryland Campus using this as our main Conference Room before breaking into work groups later in the day.

Morrill Hall is right beside LeFrak Hall, where our other break-out sessions will be near the Center for Geospatial Information Science which is on the first floor, room 1124, of LeFrak Hall, 7251 Preinkert Dr., College Park, MD 20742

People may parking in the Mowat Lane Parking Ramp. Visitor parking is on the 6th Floor of the ramp - pay at the kiosk on this level.


Our preliminary organization for the DC VoCamp 2016 workshop is complete. This workshop 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 Center for Geospatial Information Science of the University of Maryland starting at 9 on Tuesday, Nov. 29th and conclude early afternoon (around 2 to allow travel) Dec.1st.


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.

Since we expect 1 or more remote presentations, as in the past we have provided some remote access for these as part of the first morning sessions or at other general session times.

This access is:

Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB) will speak on "Building Blocks for Distributed Knowledge Graphs" and Thursday morning (9:15- 9:45 Eastern ) we will have a presentation by Grant McKenzie (UMD: "Semantic Signatures for place differentiation."

Tools for the Vocamp: If groups choose, they can store their work in a github repository under the Vocamp organization. We have found that the yEd Graph Editor is useful for concept mapping. The Protege tool is helpful for creating OWL formalization from the concept maps. The Data Semantics Laboratory has created an experimental tool for creating concept maps directly in Protege called OWLAx that assists in axiomatization using the concept map as a basis.

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. Currently we plan to have Krzysztof Janowic (UCSB) present on Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans for a 2017 US Semantic Science meeting. 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 several 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 include:

  • Topography focused topic - basic terrain primitives, slope, slope length, shape, curvature, as a topic to be explored.
  • RDF vocabulary for Chemical Safety & Chemical Terminology

This may start as a chemical safety ontology based on the various vocabulary sources and information structures used by the safety professional community.

  • A pattern to support Materials Research vocabularies.

This work can start based on the current materials xml schema as part of the NIST Materials Repository. See

Also mentioned but not yet committed to:

  • A light weight part-whole pattern for uses with 3-D patterns and such standards as CityML
  • Continuation of work on Physical Sample based on the IGSN metadata kernel

Note, Research Data Alliance (RDA) Fellow, Ahmed Eleish, is planning on attending to discuss his work using text mining to discover vocabulary relations in Chem Safety ( PubChem LCSS) and the Compendium of Chemical Terminology, informally known as the Gold Book as a step to publication as Linked Data.

Preliminary Schedule[edit]

Tuesday Nov. 29th[edit]

Remote access available via:

9:00 - 9:10 Introductions, Welcome, Logistics and Schedule Overview –Center for Geospatial Information Science/SOCoP

Main room 1101 Morrill Hall: Note - Morning session includes a virtual meeting (

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

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

  • Topography focused topic - basic terrain primitives, slope, slope length, shape, curvature (Usery & Sinha)
  • RDF vocabulary for Chemical Safety & Chemical Terminology (Leah McEwen)
  • A pattern to support Materials Research vocabularies (Kimberly Tryka & Alden Dima)

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

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

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

Breakout rooms will be in LeFrak Hall: 1166 LeFrak, 1124 LeFrak (conference room), 1124 LeFrak (Lab Space)[edit]

Note: telecoms are available if the group agrees to them.

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

1:00 – 3:00 Group Work on Concepts, Vocabulary, and Model (Breakout Rooms)

3:00 -3:15 Break

3:15 -4:30 Group Work on Draft Models (Breakout Rooms)

4:30-5:30 Group Reports to the Whole -:includes remote access:

  Post 5:30 PM – Groups may make arrangements for dinner on their own

Wednesday Nov. 30th[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)

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

12:15 -1:15 Lunch and Networking – on your own

1:15- 1:45 Remote presentation by Krzysztof Janowicz (ucsb) "Building Blocks for Distributed Knowledge Graphs" [ ]

1:45- 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)

Dinner as organized by group interest

Th. Dec. 1[edit]

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

9:15- 9:45 Presentation by Grant McKenzie, "Semantic Signatures for place differentiation."

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

10:45-11:00 Break

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)


  • Gary Berg-Cross (Ontolog and RDA) (general & local coordinator)
  • Kathleen E Stewart (University of Maryland)
  • Grant McKenzie (University of Maryland)
  • Charles F. Vardeman (University of Notre Dame)
  • Lynn Usery (USGS)
  • Torsten Hahmann (University of Maine)
  • Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University)
  • Kimberly Tryka (NIST)
  • Pascal Hitzler (Wright State)
  • Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB)
  • Xiaogang(Marshall) Ma (University of Idaho)

Feel free to contact our overall coordinator - Gary Berg-Cross

"Registered" to Participate[edit]

(add your name)

  1. Gary Berg-Cross (Ontolog)
  2. Kathleen E Stewart (University of Maryland)
  3. Grant McKenzie (University of Maryland)
  4. Lynn Usery (USGS)
  5. Samantha Arundel (USGS)
  6. Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University)
  7. Charles F. Vardeman (University of Notre Dame)
  8. Leah McEwen (Cornell University)
  9. Gang Fu (NIH/NLM)
  10. Cogan Shimizu (Wright State)
  11. Ralph Stuart (Keene State College)
  12. Stuart Chalk (University of North Florida) Just Wed.
  13. Kimberly Tryka (NIST)
  14. Alden Dima (NIST)
  15. Chandler Becker (NIST)
  16. Aryya Gangopadhyay (UMBC)
  17. Aaron Massey (UMBC)
  18. Adam Kriesberg (Post Doc, I School, University of Maryland)
  19. Federico Iuricich (Post Doc, University of Maryland)
  20. Riccardo Fellegara (Post Doc, University of Maryland)
  21. Junchuan Fan (Post Doc, University of Maryland)

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

  1. Michelle Cheatham (Wright State)
  2. Boyan Brodaric (Geological Survey of Canada/Natural Resources Canada)
  3. Thomas Narock (NDM) (conflict with work)
  4. Dalia Varanka (USGS)

Would like to participate remotely[edit]

(add your name)

  1. Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB)
  2. Torsten Hahmann (University of Maine)
  3. Ahmed Eleish (RPI)
  4. Xiaogang(Marshall) Ma (University of Idaho)
  5. Philip Pierre Painter (UC Davis)
  6. Boleslo E. Romero (UCSB)
  7. Frances Gillis-Webber (Fynbosch)
  8. Alexandre Sorokine (ONRL)
  9. Josh Lieberman (CGA)

Directions to Center for Geospatial Information Science[edit]

The CGIS is in the newly renovated LeFrak Hall. Campus map [ here.

Local Accommodations & Arragements[edit]

A local map is here.

For people coming by car, parking could be in the Mowat Lane Parking Ramp. Visitor parking is on the 6th Floor of the ramp. You pay at the kiosk on this level - they are by the elevators.

Lodging See list of hotels near the University. Shuttles ot campus may be available but some walks are only 10-15 minutes.

Options include:

Hotel BEST WESTERN PLUS College Park Hotel

Hampton Inn - College Park

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center Classically styled property offering American dining, meeting & event space, plus a fitness center. 3501 University Blvd E (301) 985-7300

Conference and Visitor Services 4321 Hartwick Rd #500 (301) 314-7884

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

There are 3 types of options for lunch including nearby student cafeterias and 10 minute walks to food in town.

Optional groups dinners will be arranged based on interest. Coffee, tea and snacks at breaks will be arranged by your local coordinator.

Questions may be addressed to local organizer, Gary Berg-Cross,