L. Bldzquez1, A. Pascual1, J. Rodriguez1, M. Poveda2

1 - National Geographic Institute, Spain

2 - Universidad Politacnica de Madrid


Nowadays geographic information is captured, managed and updated by different cartographic agencies with variable levels of granularity, quality and structure. This approach causes in practice the building up of multiple sets of spatial databases with a great heterogeneity of  feature catalogues and data models. That means a coexistence of a great variety of sources with different information, structure and semantic without a general harmonization framework. This heterogeneity cause several and important problems to link similar features, to search, to retrieve and to exploit data on web.


The development of Ontological Engineering has been acknowledged to be the core methodology for capturing and sharing semantics of geospatial information, therefore, it is a key matter in the solution of current problems of geospatial information. For that reason, the definition of a domain ontology becomes necessary in the achievement of an easy accessibility and common structure of data. That means to provide a certain structure of names, codes, attributes and other associated represented characteristics being responsible for defining the real world. Thus, in order to give an answer to users, we will hopefully improve the structure of the world of classical cartography, computer-assisted cartography, GIS (Geographic Information System) and SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure).


In this paper we describe some characteristic of a domain ontology development process in the hydrographic features framework. This ontology (HydrOntology) is a starting point to relate different feature catalogues corresponding to the geospatial databases generated by diverse cartographic agencies in Spain at national, regional and local level, from 1:1.000.000 national scale to 1:1000 local scale.


Moreover, hydrographic features have relationships with other knowledge areas. Therefore the HydrOntology model expands to different domains, such as the legal framework (international law), the geological domain (hydrogeology) and urban civil engineering (COST UCE Action C21, Towntology project). This fact enriches the ontological framework because it provides a gradual increase in knowledge and added benefit for geographic information users on the web.