Scientific Publications and Presentations

This page collects publications and presentations made at conferences. Please also add any that you know of or have created. Publications are ordered by time, with the most recent ones on top. Please note that papers made in the wider context of the HUMBOLDT project are also referenced here:


Thorsten Reitz, Simon Templer, "An Environment for the Conceptual Harmonisation of Geospatial Schemas and Data", to appear in the Proceedings of the 2012 AGILE conference

Link: To be added.

Abstract: We present a system for defining and evaluating conceptual schema mappings for the harmonisation of geospatial data sets. The goal of this system is to allow domain experts to ensure logically and semantically consistent mappings and consequently high-quality transformed geospatial data. Furthermore, a major focus is put on documentation of the schema transformation process and its impacts, e.g. in the form of lineage information attached to the resultant transformed data. This paper provides a summary of our mapping methodology, outlines lessons learnt in the first two evaluations and explains how the architecture we implemented evolves to meet upcoming user requirements.


Paolo Villa, Roderic Molina, Mario A. Gomarasca and Emanuele Roccatagliata, "Harmonisation requirements and capabilities towards a European spatial data infrastructure (ESDI): the HUMBOLDT protected areas scenario", International Journal of Digital Earth, 2011.


Abstract: The HUMBOLDT project has the aim of implementing a Framework for harmonisation of data and services in the geoinformation domain, under the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) Directive and in the context of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Initiative. The two-pronged approach of HUMBOLDT comprises a technical side of software framework development and an application side of scenario testing and validation. Among the HUMBOLDT Application Scenarios designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the Framework there is the one covering Protected Areas themes and use cases. It aims to transform geoinformation, managed by park authorities, into a seamless flow that combines multiple information sources from different governance levels (European, national, regional), and exploits this newly combined information for the purposes of planning, management and tourism promotion. The Scenario constitutes a step further towards the integration of monitoring systems envisaged in the view of Digital Earth. Protected Areas Scenario creates an examples of the use of the HUMBOLDT tools in Desktop and Web GIS environment, together with setting up a server environment exploiting HUMBOLDT harmonisation framework as taking into account user requirements and needs and providing benefits for making the road to ESDI establishment easier.

Astrid Fichtinger, "Semantische Transformation im Kontext von INSPIRE - dargestellt am Beispiel der grenzüberschreitenden Bodenseeregion", Dissertation at the Technical University of Munich


Abstract: This work contributes to a better understanding of the challenges and potential solutions for semantic transformations in the context of INSPIRE. Using topographic reference data from digital landscape models of the cross-border Lake Constance region (Germany – Austria – Switzerland) as an example, the heterogeneity between the source models and the target model from the INSPIRE Data Specification on Hydrography is analysed and described in detail. Functional requirements for semantic transformation are derived from this analysis. Based on that, existing approaches to semantic transformation are tested, compared and evaluated. These applications demonstrate that the creation of mappings between the source and target schemas is feasible in principle. However it is also complex and subject to limitations. These limitations are caused by the usage of different schema languages (or versions/profiles of these), by differences in the demarcation and definition of objects, by differences concerning the scope and depth of information, and by different geometry models.

The main scientific contribution of this thesis is the development of classifications which facilitate a systematic description of the type of heterogeneity, the type and multiplicity of the correspondence between elements in the schemas and the required transformation functions in abstract form.

Zaheer Khan, Christine Giger, Jan Schulze-Althoff and David Ludlow, "Harmonizing geospatial data at the local level for global benefit: HUMBOLDT Urban Atlas – a case study", In: INSPIRE Conference 2011, 28th June - 1st July, 2011, Edinburgh, UK.


Abstract: One of the major requirements for the realization of an integrated environmental monitoring system is the availability of tools and services to harmonize and integrate environmental spatial data, originating from various governmental and other agencies connected horizontally at the local level, using standards like INSPIRE, OGC, etc. Equally, the flow of information across the levels of governance in a vertical perspective from local, to regional, national and EU levels, particularly in relation to the fulfilment of specific EU reporting and monitoring requirements, is a further major focus for the development of tools and services for data harmonization. In the above context, the FP6 HUMBOLDT project provides various INSPIRE and OGC compliant state-of-the-art harmonization tools and services establishing a platform for developing cross-thematic harmonized environmental applications. In particular, the HUMBOLDT Urban Atlas scenario is an attempt to mitigate the cross-thematic harmonization challenges providing the key to unlock the prime concerns of the policy end user to secure integrated intelligence that is critical to effective decision-making and policy integration. This scenario demonstrates how non-standardized spatial environmental data from the Sustainable Observatory of the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz (CEA) becomes compliant with European standards using the HUMBOLDT framework, providing interoperable communication with other ESDIs and generating new environmental indicators at the local level. It is anticipated that there will be many similar or and even more complex examples in various other European cities, in which effective decision making is blocked by unstructured data. In such circumstances the Urban Atlas scenario results offer an excellent example of how to undertake the necessary processing steps to secure compliance to INSPIRE standards using the HUMBOLDT Framework. The Urban Atlas scenario demonstrates that the HUMBOLDT Framework provides all the necessary tools for data harmonization, even if, some processing tasks are still work in progress for HUMBOLDT Framework.

Jiří HORÁK, Lucie JUŘIKOVSKÁ, Miroslav UMLAUF, Jan JEŽEK, Markéta HANZLOVÁ, Sisi ZLATANOVA, "The HUMBOLDT Alignment Editor", Proceedings of the GIS Ostrava 2011 conference.


Abstract: The process of data harmonization starts with a description of data sources and mapping of differences
among heterogeneous source and target data sets. The semantic differences usually include incompatible data schemas (structures, different data types, domains etc.) and differences in content (different values for the same entity). While the second type of
differences is difficult to be solved in an automated way, the first type can be described by the new tool HALE, developed within the HUMBOLDT project. The HUMBOLDT Alignment Editor (HALE) allows to interactively specify transformations between models at a conceptual schema level. It is possible to rename attributes, to make reclassification (classification mapping), to change geometric types, to change values using various mathematical expressions, to set default values etc. The paper presents features, functions and results of testing harmonisation process for selected geodata. The process of data integration into common schemas which are INSPIRE compliant is discussed. The INSPIRE theme Hydrography is used as a core of the solution. Finally the schema transformation performed with HALE is executed with the help of other HUMBOLDT tools (i.e. Conceptual Schema Transformer) to perform required data transformation.


Thorsten Reitz, “A Mismatch Description Language for Conceptual Schema Mapping and its Cartographic Representation”, Proceedings of the 6th GIScience Conference, Zürich: 2010. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2010, Volume 6292/2010, pp. 204-218

Abstract: Geospatial data offered by distributed services are often modeled with different conceptual schemas although they cover the same thematic area. To ensure interoperability of geospatial data, the existing heterogeneous conceptual schemas can be mapped to a common conceptual schema. However, the underlying formalized schema mappings are difficult to create, difficult to re-use and often contain mismatches of abstraction level, of scope difference, domain semantics and value semantics of the mapped entities. We have developed a novel approach to document and communicate such mismatches in the form of a Mismatch Description Language (MDL). This MDL can be transformed into various textual and cartographic representations to support users in communicating and understanding mismatches, and to assess the reusability of a mapping.

Thorsten Reitz, Daniel Fitzner, Eva Klien and Ulrich Schäffler, "Efficient Conceptual Schema Translation for Geographic Vector Data Sets", Short Paper presented at the 2009 AGILE conference.

Abstract: We present an approach that allows to use a compact, declarative mapping language and also to achieve high-performing geographical data set transformation. The following two aspects form this paper’s contribution:
- Adoption of an executable, declarative and compact language for conceptual schema mapping to complex geospatial data integration/harmonisation scenarios
- Development and implementation of an algorithm for the efficient execution of such declarative mappings in the aforementioned geospatial data integration scenarios


Thorsten Reitz and Arjan Kuijper, “Applying Instance Visualisation and Conceptual Schema Mapping for Geodata Harmonisation”, Advances in GIScience, Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography, 2009, pp. 173-194.

Abstract: This paper gives an introduction to concepts for a better expert knowledge extraction for geodata harmonisation. Geodata harmonisation involves overcoming heterogeneities on the syntactic, schematic and se-mantic levels, but user interaction is mostly required for the semantic interoperability level. Consequently, the goal is to provide tools to geo-domain experts which allow them to use their knowledge to describe the conceptual schemas of their domain as well as alignments to other domain's conceptual schemas in a sufficiently expressive way without be-coming experts in ontology engineering. We describe an approach for this that includes both visual analysis on the basis of geospatial instances and specific interaction guidance processes. Based on this approach, a prototypical implementation of a tool called the HUMBOLDT Alignment Editor (HALE) is introduced.