Querying Heterogeneous Spatial Databases: Combining an Ontology with Similarity Functions
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This paper uses a knowledge-based approach to querying heterogeneous spatial databases based on an ontology and conceptual and attribute similarities. The ontology, which may be independent of the databases, expands and filters a user query. Then, queries are translated into a formal specification of entity classes, which are compared against definitions in databases. This process is carried out by determining the conceptual similarity between entities in a user ontology and by comparing these entities in the ontology with entities in the conceptual models of databases. In addition, the specification of a query is done not only by identifying entity classes but also by considering constraints based on attribute values. The paper describes the system architecture and presents a case study with data from a forestry information system.