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Re: [ontolog-forum] Disaster Management ontology BOF in Delft

To: "Barker, Sean (UK)" <Sean.Barker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 16:49:11 -0500
Message-id: <p0623090bc28e2bd88bc8@[]>
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>I should declare an interest. Among other jobs, 
>I am vice-chair of a CEN workshop on a tactical 
>situation message structure for emergency 
>response and disaster management. This includes 
>a controlled vocabulary structured a set of 
>trees, one for each element of the message. One 
>particular problem is that of defining an 'event 
>code', that is, what sort of event is being 
>dealt with.
>The issue identified was that no single event 
>code structure would work, since each emergency 
>service has a different structure of codes. 
>Analysis suggests that the event code is 
>selected through a (probably implicit) decision 
>procedure based on the factors involved in the 
>incident, such as the cause (flood, fire...) or 
>the 'actors' in the incident (train, wild 
>animals...). In some cases these factors are 
>used as a heuristic to determine the sort 
>resources that the event needs - e.g. a road 
>traffic accident is an indicator of the 
>types and numbers of casualties (multiple 
>trauma), and the sort of equipment needed to 
>deal with the incident (compare to 'flood'). 
>Since the emergency services supply different 
>sorts of capabilities, they can come to very 
>different conclusions as to the nature of the 
>For example, in the UK, the Bunsfield fire was 
>the biggest fire in Europe since the Second 
>World War, and from the fire view point was a 
>major incident, requiring resources from across 
>the UK over several days. From the ambulance 
>view point, it would be a minor incident, since 
>there were very few injuries.    (01)

Understood, but...    (02)

>That is, I don't think that "event" can be represented by a single ontology    (03)

...this really does not follow, unless you are 
assuming a very limited notion of what an 
ontology is. Indeed, I would suggest that this 
kind of situation is exactly what a good ontology 
would be able to handle well, by providing a 
'point-of-view-neutral' central model to which 
specific systems of codes could be related.    (04)

>, and that it should be represented by a set of factor ontologies    (05)

The problem here is that there is no accepted 
notion of a "factor ontology", and in any case 
(guessing what you might mean) that this would 
not provide the advantages of interoperation that 
a common central event ontology should allow.    (06)

>(for scale, cause and actor) for which there is 
>some measure of agreement. Further, that what 
>should be codified is the upper ontology, such 
>that the ontology can be extended by subclassing 
>for the local situation    (07)

Quite; although simple subclassing is a very 
limited and 'static' kind of relationship. For 
example, even just using OWL, one could have 
systems of properties arranged by subproperty 
relationships in 'bundles', and use restrictions 
on them to select appropriate codes in a more 
context-dependent manner.    (08)

>  - for example, the upper ontology class "wild 
>animal incident" might be subclassed in Africa 
>to "Elephant rampage", but that is not a code we 
>would use in the UK.    (09)

Because elephants are wild animals in Africa but 
not in England, right? Which an ontology reasoner 
should be able to figure out from a fairly 
elementary ontology.    (010)

Pat Hayes    (011)

>Any thoughts?
>Sean Barker
>BAE SYSTEMS - Advanced Technology Centre
>Bristol, UK
>+44 (0)117 302 8184
>    (012)

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