Semantic Data Integration in BExIS

Title: Semantic Data Integration in BExIS
Authors: Dennis Heimann, Jens Nieschulze, Birgitta König-Ries, E.D. Schulze
Source: Workshop on Data repositories in environmental sciences
Place: Rauischholzhausen, Germany
Date: 2011-02-01
Type: Poster

In order to address the complex ecological relationships of landuse, biodiversity, and ecosystem prossess, research in ecology progressed from site-specific approaches with measurements at spatial and temporal small scales to long-term explorations on larger scales. This research paradigm is promoted by collaborations and data exchange policies between research projects, and technical advances within data management. On this account data reuse and interoperability plays an important role in information systems design of large scale and long-term ecological projects. Against this background, providing just a database system is no longer sufficient – instead a data repository should also be able to capture the semantics of its data sets to allow for the disentanglement of ecological relationships.
The poster presents our approach of enabling the Biodiversity Exploratories Information System (BExiS) for data sharing and interoperability. We have addressed the problem of semantic heterogeneity within the datasets by relating all data items to concepts of a common, upper-level ontology which reflects the relationships between individual ecological topics. The poster describes our approaches of ontology-based data integration and user-friendly annotation and shows furthermore an example of the current state of our underlying ontology.