International Cartographic Conference 2023 Workshop

Map Semantics of Cartographic Knowledge

Interactive Session on Practical Semantic Mapping

Workshop participants will discuss aspects of map semantics to develop an applied ontology pattern (OP).  Discussions will initially be visualized as a concept map. Commonly agreed ideas will be formalized in Web Ontology Language (OWL) and integrated to provide cohesive input to populate the Carto BoK Living Textbook ( The resulting OP will be made available through media of participants’ choice.

  • Present a learning opportunity to concept mapping and ontology design patterns
  • Analyze key concepts of map semantics
  • Build connections among Commission members and with other Commissions and Working Groups
  • Result in an artifact of 'knowledge production' 

The following suggestions for participants would be useful toward achieving the workshop objectives.

Background preparation
  • Request participants install a free and open-source ontology design software called Protege (  Protégé is a free, stable, and easy-to-use interface. Some preliminary instruction will be provided.
  • Consider some concepts key to the problems of map semantics.   These will be posted on the Commission website in advance of the workshop
At the workshop
  • Use concept mapping approaches with the group using a white board for quick edits. 
  • Protege will be a useful way to integrate multiple perspectives and present cohesive conceptual input to the CartoBoK. 
After the workshop
  • Semantic information is provived to CartoBoK managers
  • Review the documented OWL file to evaluate the effectiveness of the pattern by aligning custom vocabulary
Vocabulary Alignment to the Design Pattern

The group activity described above can be continued by aligning a custom data attribute vocabulary to the ODP.

  • Select a table of source data and target ontology to align
  • Align attributes to properties through string, structure, or semantic mapping
  • Create custom object properties
  • Add Annotations; Formal semantics and natural language at the human/machine interface


Midtbø, T., Chair. Cartographic Body of Knowledge.  Cartographic Body of Knowledge – ICA Working Group (

Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research. Protégé. Standford University. protégé (

W3C OWL Working Group. 2012. OWL 2 Web Ontology Document Overview Second Edition. W3C Recommendation 11 December 2012.  OWL 2 Web Ontology Language Document Overview (Second Edition) (