[Nouvelle Publication] Towards Interoperability of Geopolitical Information within FAO

This paper reports ongoing work on using an ontology as a mechanism to bridge various types of country-based information systems at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The type of geopolitical information addressed by this work include country international classifications, country names in the five FAO languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish), and other geographical information such as water bodies. Although the data required for the geopolitical ontology is already available, it is scattered across many information systems, which are often not clearly connected to one another. The expected advantage of using an ontology to achieve interoperability is that it can accommodate semantic relationships (between countries and geographical entities) that can be exploited for inference. Moreover, in virtue of the standardized semanticsoriented languages used to encode the ontology, it will provide a highly sharable and reusable resource for the international community. This paper describes the geopolitical information to manage, presents the requirements imposed on the ontology and gives details about the ontology prototype. Finally, it discusses design issues and draws some preliminary conclusions.

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