Monday, November 12, 2007

New York City In a Semantic Web

Tim Krichel in The Semantic Web and an Introduction to Resource Description Framework makes a very astute analogy for understanding the technology behind the Semantic Web, particularly the nuances of XML and RDF, where the goal is to move away from the present Web - where pages are essentially constructed for use by human consumption - to a Web where more information can be understood and treated by machines. The analogy goes like this:
We fit each car in New York City with a device that lets a reverse geographical position system reads its movements. Suppose, in addition, that another machine can predict the weather or some other phenomenon that impacts traffic. Assume that a third kind of device has the public transport timetables. Then, data from a collaborative knowledge picture of these machines can be used to advise on the best means of transportation for reaching a certain destination within the next few hours.
The computer systems doing the calculations required for the traffic advisory are likely to be controlled by different bodies, such as the city authority or the national weather service. Therefore, there must be a way for software agents to process the information from the machine where it resides, to proceed with further processing of that information to a form in which a software agent of the final user can be used to query the dataset.


Dean Giustini said...


Interesting metaphor - the reverse GIS. But isn't this discussion of the RDF just about locatability of documents? Using the metaphor, how will geographical sites that are of interest be grouped together? They'll need to be described using subject terms and grouped in facets.

I like the new subtitle of the blog, by the way

Allan said...

I agree Dean. The article falls short in explaining organization. But I think the point of the article is to bring forth the metaphor of semantic markup "tagging." But you're right -- without order, the Semantic Web still falls short. That's where we're at this moment...