From VoCamp Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


This event will be a follow-up of several GeoVoCamps, specialists meetings, and workshops that took place between 2010 and 2012 (see below) with the motivation to take the work on geospatial semantics to the next level. Similar to Dublin Core for the library science and Darwin Core for ecology, we plan to establish Descartes-Core at this meeting. Descartes-Core will not be a top-level ontology but a set of (geo-)ontology design patterns, vocabularies, best practice guides, examples, software, and services, that aim to foster semantic interoperability between different (Linked Data) sources without restricting semantic heterogeneity at the same time. We hope that this work will benefit Earthcube and other next generation knowledge infrastructures. The Descartes-Core GeoVoCamp will take place at UCSB (Santa Barbara, California). The meeting will take place 20-22. March 2013 and is sponsored by the UCSB College of Letters and Science. As a GeoVoCamp this event is open to everybody interested in (geo)spatial semantics, geo-ontologies, linked spatiotemporal data, interoperability, the future of spatial data infrastructures, and so forth.


During this meeting we aim to establish Descartes-Core as a community-wide collection of vocabularies, (geo-)ontology design patterns, best practice guides, examples, software, and services, with the aim to foster semantic interoperability between different sources without restricting semantic heterogeneity. We plan to identify which parts are already in place and can be reused and which pieces are still missing. As it turns out, we will even have to revisit some of the most basic aspects, i.e., how to annotate locations. If you believe that the current approaches are sufficient, you may find this blog post interesting that discusses how Armstong's giant leap ended up in Sudan rather than on the moon. While we hope that the results of the meeting will directly impact semantic aspects of EarthCube, Descartes-Core aims at the geosciences and geography in general and is not tied to a specific project or research group. We hope that the results will be useful to any domain that requires to deal with (geo)spatial aspects such as places and space, trajectories and movement patterns, spatial dependency and heterogeneity, scale and resolution, change and events, and so forth. We hope that this meeting will be just the first in a series of meetings to develop and maintain Descartes-Core. We explicitly welcome contributions from different domains outside the geo-realm. For those of you not familiar with (geo)spatial semantics and linked data, this editorial gives a brief (partial, and biased) overview of the past, present, and future of the field.


Ontologies can be engineered in different ways, to suit particular purposes. For example:

1. To some, ontology creation is all about the underlying philosophy. Meta (and sometimes meta-meta) models of the process of science are proposed and then sometimes anchored into Dolce or similar. This can lead to confusion since domain scientists are not familiar with academic ontology principles.

2. To others, ontologies are created by in-depth study of a domain, and interaction with domain scientists to extract highly-detailed, specialized semantics that captures some of this deep knowledge. The complex ontologies that result may represent their target community but typically do not generalize or harmonize well.

Having experienced some of the drawbacks and frustrations of these two approaches, some of us are looking for an alternative path that provides some of the power of #2 and rigor of #1 without the inherent complexity or lack of generality. The compromise approach that characterizes GeoVoCamps is to try to create small, reusable ontological fragments that have high utility, but are easy to instantiate and to understand. This way we can hope to 'capture' more linked data resources without massive ontological engineering effort which may not be sustainable.

So while there is clear value to strong philosophical and deep domain approaches, our emphasis here is clearly on utility, and it is this approach that we hope to take during the workshop.


The GeoVocamp will take place 20-22 March 2013. To ensure that the meeting is productive and we get some real outcomes we hope that you can stay for the full event. We will start Wednesday 9:30am and close the event around Friday 5pm.


We booked a main room (McCune Conference Room) and two smaller conference rooms (Crowell Reading Room and IHC Research Seminar Room) for breakout sessions. The Vocamp will take place at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center 6046 HSSB. UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-7100 which is 5 minutes walking distance from the Ocean as well as the UCen food court. Use the entrance next to the parking lots and the events center or you will have to search access to the 6th floor :-). Check the interactive campus map for more details.

For information about parking spaces see the interactive parking map at [1]. Most spaces are metered parking.

Accommodations and Transportation[edit]

There are many nice places to stay in Santa Barbara, especially the Upham hotel. However, if you want to be closer to the UCSB campus and not pay more than $90-120 then the Best Western South Coast Inn in Goleta is a good option and less than 10 minutes driving from UCSB. There is also a brand new Courtyard by Marriott in Goleta that is about 7 min driving (or 30 min walking) from UCSB. Public transportation information is available at: [2].


Santa Barbara is known for its high density of restaurants. You can get decent breakfast, lunch, and dinner nearly everywhere. If you are not sure where to go, just say on State Street and you will have several good choices. The following is a short (biased and incomplete) list of places we recommend: If you like great tapas and drinks Milk & Honey is a nice place to go. Seafood fans may want to go to the Hungry Cat or Brophy Bros located directly at the harbor. If you get there before 6:30pm, the Boathouse has a spectacular view and is the best spot to watch the sun go down directly over the ocean (only in the winter and spring). Excellent mediterranean cuisine is served at the Cadiz, while the best place for Middle Eastern food is the Zaytoon which offers great, heated outdoor seating. If you prefer Italian cuisine, there are many great options in town, e.g., Via Maestra 42, Olio Pizzeria and especially Trattoria Mollie (with a chance of seeing some celebrities). I was told that the Bouchon has excellent French cuisine. Zen Yai Thai Cuisine is another great place to go, as is the Arlington Tavern (don't get confused by the name). If you stay in Goleta and prefer a casual place to get food and beer, the Hollister Brewing Company is a good choice. The Blush is another nice palce to combine good food with drinks and a lounge atmosphere (sit outside). Free popcorn and a wide selection of drinks are served at the Mercury in Goleta. Finally, Arigato Sushi is an excellent place for Sushi and Japanese cuisine (if you are in a small group of not more than 4 people). As with most other places, you can also sit outside and watch the sky. Leaving the Hungry Cat aside, all of those places offer multiple vegetarian dishes. If you prefer vegan food, check the Sojourner Cafe. Note, that finding a table for a group of more than 6, will be difficult (or impossible) between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.


The program is not fixed and will remain flexible to a certain degree (this is a key feature of vocamps, not a bug). The following schedule is just to give you a better impression of the strucutre of the GeoVocamp:

Wednesday 20 March 2013 (McCune Conference Room)
9:30am - 10:15 Introduction of participants, the goals of the GeoVocamp, and Descartes-Core (Krzysztof Janowicz)
10:15am - 10:30 The semantic trajectory pattern as example (Yingjie Hu)
10:30am -11:00 Decide on geo-ontology design patterns and breakout groups | (Activity, Boundary, Cartographic Symbology, and Transport)
11:00pm - 12:00 Breakout groups work on patterns
12:00pm - 1:30 Lunch
1:30pm - 4:30 Breakout groups work on patterns
4:30pm - ~5:00 Reports from the groups
5:00pm - 6:00 Organizers discuss outcomes and directions (open, feel free to join)
7pm -- Dinner (in small groups or together)
Thursday 21 March 2013 (McCune Conference Room)
9:30am -9:50 Social and political dimensions of knowledge engineering (Mark Gahegan)
9:50am - 10:00 Brief recap
10:00am - 12:00 Breakout groups work on patterns
12:00pm - 1:00 Lunch
1:00pm - 1:30 Reports from the groups
1:45pm - 4:00 Breakout groups work on patterns implementation
4:00pm - 5:00 Implementation reports
6:00pm - 7:00 Andiamo con jano (Arroyo Burro Beach)
7pm -- Dinner (in small groups or together)
Friday 22 March 2013 (McCune Conference Room)
9:30am -9:50 Ontology and semantics in research computing (Charles Vardeman)
9:50am - 10:00 Brief recap
9:30am - 12:00 Breakout groups work on examples (with real data)
12:00pm - 1:00 Lunch
1:00pm - 1:30 Reports from the groups
1:30pm - 3:00 Breakout groups work brief documentation
3:00pm - 4:00 Descartes-Core report
4:00pm - 5:00 Final reports and outlook

[Do not worry, coffee and snacks will be available all the time; this is an informal event you can chat with your colleagues (and check your emails) at any time. Therefore, we will not have fixed coffee breaks.]


Please add your name here to help us planning, you can change your mind at any time and also indicate whether you will participate for sure or just maybe. You can also indicate that you cannot make it but would like share thoughts and experience via the wiki. Due to the available rooms we have to limit the vocamp to 40 participants.


(The numbering does not imply any order but is just for keeping count for room capacities)

  1. Krzysztof Janowicz (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  2. Mark Gahegan (The University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  3. Pascal Hitzler (Kno.e.sis Center, Wright State University, US)
  4. Werner Kuhn (University of Muenster, Germany)
  5. Charles Vardeman (University of Notre Dame, US)

Local Contact Person[edit]

  1. Yingjie Hu (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  2. Krzysztof Janowicz


(We will resort the list from time to time to put those that will be there for sure on top.)

  1. Grant McKenzie (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  2. David Carral (Kno.e.sis Center, Wright State University, Dayton, OH, US)
  3. Ben Adams (NCEAS, Santa Barbara, CA, US)
  4. Helen Couclelis (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  5. Song Gao (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  6. George Planansky (Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, US)
  7. Krishna Sinha (Virginia Tech, US)
  8. Mark Schildhauer (NCEAS, Univ Calif Santa Barbara, US)
  9. Kitty Currier (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  10. Adam Shepherd (BCO-DMO, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, US)
  11. Karl Grossner (Stanford University, US)
  12. Gary Berg-Cross (SOCoP)
  13. Glauco Mantegari (Stanford University, US)
  14. Bruce Caron (New Media Research Institute, US)
  15. Todd Pehle (Orbis, US)
  16. Naicong Li (The Redlands Institute, US)
  17. Philip Murphy (The Redlands Institute, US)
  18. Carie Fox
  19. Brandon Whitehead (The University of Auckland, NZL)
  20. Waldo Tobler (for some parts)
  21. Boleslo Romero (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
  22. ...

Not sure yet[edit]

  1. Frank Hardisty (Penn State University, US)
  2. Ola Ahlqvist (Ohio State University, US)
  3. Jonathan Rush (Ohio State University, US)
  4. Gaurav Sinha (Ohio University, US)
  5. ...

Would like to, but can't[edit]

  1. Sven Schade (European Environment Agency, Denmark)
  2. Adam Leadbetter (British Oceanographic Data Centre)
  3. Luis M. Vilches-Blázquez (Ontology Engineering Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain)
  4. Isabel Cruz (ADVIS Lab, UIC, USA)
  5. Murat Komesli (Yasar University, Izmir, Turkey)
  6. Simon Scheider (Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Münster)
  7. Dalia Varanka (U.S. Geological Survey)
  8. Mike Dean (Raytheon BBN Technologies)

Some Notes from Carie Fox[edit]


On a personal note, while GeoVoCamps have established themselves as a successful way to collaboratively develop ontology design patterns and to improve the mutual understanding between domain scientists and knowledge engineers, they do not yet fit into the pigeonholing of many funding organizations. Nonetheless, even GeoVoCamps require some sort of funding and would be more productive and successful if more funding (e.g., for travel support) would be available. We are, thus, greatly thankful for the sponsoring from the UCSB College of Letters and Science which made the GeoVoCamp Santa Barbara 2013 possible.

Related Event[edit]

  1. Semantics for Big Data AAAI 2013 Fall Symposium
  2. Workshop On Linked Spatiotemporal Data 2010
  3. Workshop on GIScience in the Big Data Age 2012
  4. GeoVoCamp Santa Barbara 2012
  5. GeoVoCamp Dayton 2012
  6. GeoVoCamp SOCoP 2012 DC

and many more...