Classification, Individuation and Demarcation of Forests: Formalising the Multi-Faceted Semantics of Geographic Terms

Authors Lucía Gómez Álvarez, Brandon Bennett

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Lucía Gómez Álvarez
Brandon Bennett

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Lucía Gómez Álvarez and Brandon Bennett. Classification, Individuation and Demarcation of Forests: Formalising the Multi-Faceted Semantics of Geographic Terms. In 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 86, pp. 8:1-8:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


Many papers have considered the problem of how to define forest. However, as we shall illustrate, while most definitions capture some important aspects of what it means to be a forest, they almost invariably omit or are very vague regarding other aspects. In the current paper we address this issue, firstly by providing a definitional framework based on spatial and physical properties, within which one can make explicit the implicit variability of the natural language forest concept in terms of explicit parameters. Our framework explicitly differentiates between the functions of classification, individuation and demarcation that comprise the interpretation of predicative terms. Whereas ontologies have traditionally concentrated predominantly on classification, we argue that in many cases (especially in the case of geographic concepts) criteria for individuation (i.e. establishing how many distinct individual objects of a given type exist) and demarcation (establishing the boundary of an object) require separate attention, involve their own particular definitional issues and are affected by vagueness in different ways. We also describe a prototype Prolog system that illustrates how our framework can be implemented.
  • Forest
  • Definition
  • Vagueness
  • Ontology
  • GIS


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