Jumping into the middle of the discussion, but 2 years ago the OGC did a
really interesting OGC Web Services interoperability test bed scenario in
this domain. On-line interactive demonstrations can be found at
http://www.opengeospatial.org/pub/www/ows4/demo.html check out the "About
OWS 4" and then go to "Demonstrations" and then click on the "Emergency
Response" scenario. The scenario was defined by a collaborative group of
individuals from the geospatial, CAD, building/BIM, and emergency services
community. The work was coordinated with the BIM community. There is also
a really good OGC paper on this topic area that can be freely downloaded
from the OGC website (dated 2007).
http://portal.opengeospatial.org/files/?artifact_id=21622 . (01)
My take is that there is a considerable amount of useful information and
lessons learned available through the OGC interoperability activities. (02)
FYI, the OGC is also closely collaborating with the buildingSmart alliance
on another interoperability activity. (03)
There is also a W3C incubator activity looking at ontologies for emergency
services response. (04)
> Paola, Deborah, and Toby,
> PDM> how do you think these two levels of terminology should relate
> > to each other?
> The very small number of relations and axioms of the terminology
> should be a subset of the larger number used for the each of the
> detailed ontologies.
> PD> is there overlap?
> Yes. The detailed ontologies might be inconsistent with one another.
> The small number of relations and axioms in the gross-level terminology
> should contain only the common consistent core.
> PDM> would would some of the relationships in the low level
> > specification also be present in the higher spec, or do you
> > envisage a crisper distinction
> The terms 'gross level' and 'detailed level' should not be confused
> wit low-level vs high-level. For example, the word 'door' is not
> likely to represent a concept in an upper-level ontology. But
> it is such a common word that it's likely to occur in any large
> terminology. The relations and axioms used for a gross-level
> description of a door should be consistent with all the detailed
> ontologies of the building industry.
> DM> The International Alliance for Interoperability has changed
> > its name to building SMART international...
> I noticed that in my Googling. But I used the old name because
> the word 'interoperability' has been kicked around a lot on this
> forum. I wanted to emphasize how the word is used by people who
> are actually building interoperable systems.
> DM> Today, even though the files are huge and hard to push around
> > or share real time, most building models are "at the gross
> > level, there is very little difference between an ontology and
> > a terminology". Nevertheless, accurate models at this level can
> > be useful to public services such as fire departments to exchange
> > basic information about building configurations and types because
> > simple accuracy is all that is needed.
> I agree. The terminology should be accurate enough for the
> building contractor to tell the fire department how to enter
> and escape from a burning building. The precise details about
> door sizes and screw threads are not needed for such messages.
> TC> The IFC's themselves are large pile of incompatible semantics /
> > domains functions with defined interfaces (IDM) between adjacent
> > ones. Structural concrete has little to say to steel framing to
> > energy code compliance....
> > BuildingServicePerformance is striving to create a language about
> > what service, not physical attributes, are provided by buildings
> > that could be combined with performance metrics (energy) to define
> > real effective operations. That bridging effort is not here yet...
> > Smart grids speak today almost always from the perspective of
> > the Utility, and not from that of the customer.
> > Plenty of Semantics. Plenty of Ontologies. Not much mutual
> > understanding yet.
> Those are good examples from real world applications, and
> they have serious implications for anyone working on proposed
> Before we worry about interoperability between the *computers*
> used by the building managers and the fire department, we have
> to coordinate the terminology used by *people* who actually
> work with and live in those buildings.
> I don't want to dismiss debates about theoretical issues, but
> absolute precision in an ontology is useless if it creates
> more confusion than enlightenment for the people who do the
> work and live with the results.
> Bottom line: Any precise, formal, detailed ontology should
> be compatible with the terminology that people actually know,
> understand, and use.
> John Sowa
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