International Cartography Association

Commission on GeoSpatial Semantics





Place matters. The environment varies geographically. Technical designs are needed that better reflect cognitive and contextual meaning. Semantics enable us to communicate the human experience.


Data-driven science requires semantic alignment and integration for analytical and understandable. Geographical coordinate systems organize world features by location, but advanced spatial concepts are needed to understand processes. Spatial concepts are often inherent to the very definitions of scientific categories.

All databases have some semantic system, but those meanings are often ambiguous, contradictory, or unknown. Semantic technologies include language and logic, algorithms, and visualization, multi-media, and the arts. These can take forms such as knowledge graphs, neural networks, and linked data, often integrated with widely established forms such as relational tables, geographic information systems (GIS), and the Internet.

Semantics have a strong impact on peoples’ lives. Culture and the humanities have deep knowledge of how people interpret, understand, and communicate meaning. These sources can bring structure to a rapidly changing world.