Formal Qualitative Spatial Augmentation of the Simple Feature Access Model

Authors Shirly Stephen, Torsten Hahmann

Thumbnail PDF


  • Filesize: 0.51 MB
  • 18 pages

Document Identifiers

Author Details

Shirly Stephen
  • School of Computing and Information Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
Torsten Hahmann
  • School of Computing and Information Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA


The authors are grateful for the four anonymous reviewer’s thoughtful comments that helped improve the final version of the paper.

Cite AsGet BibTex

Shirly Stephen and Torsten Hahmann. Formal Qualitative Spatial Augmentation of the Simple Feature Access Model. In 14th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 142, pp. 15:1-15:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


The need to share and integrate heterogeneous geospatial data has resulted in the development of geospatial data standards such as the OGC/ISO standard Simple Feature Access (SFA), that standardize operations and simple topological and mereotopological relations over various geometric features such as points, line segments, polylines, polygons, and polyhedral surfaces. While SFA’s supplied relations enable qualitative querying over the geometric features, the relations' semantics are not formalized. This lack of formalization prevents further automated reasoning - apart from simple querying - with the geometric data, either in isolation or in conjunction with external purely qualitative information as one might extract from textual sources, such as social media. To enable joint qualitative reasoning over geometric and qualitative spatial information, this work formalizes the semantics of SFA’s geometric features and mereotopological relations by defining or restricting them in terms of the spatial entity types and relations provided by CODIB, a first-order logical theory from an existing logical formalization of multidimensional qualitative space.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computing methodologies → Ontology engineering
  • Computing methodologies → Spatial and physical reasoning
  • Information systems → Geographic information systems
  • space
  • geometry
  • geospatial semantics
  • qualitative spatial representation (QSR)
  • simple feature access
  • topological relations
  • formal ontology


  • Access Statistics
  • Total Accesses (updated on a weekly basis)
    PDF Downloads


  1. Ringo Baumann, Frank Loebe, and Heinrich Herre. Towards an Ontology of Space for GFO. In Conf. on Formal Ontology in Inf. Systems (FOIS-16), pages 53-66, 2016. Google Scholar
  2. Stefano Borgo and Claudio Masolo. Full mereogeometries. Rev. Symb. Logic, 3(4):521-567, 2010. Google Scholar
  3. Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi. Parts and Places. MIT Press, 1999. Google Scholar
  4. Koen Claessen and Niklas Sörensson. New techniques that improve MACE-style finite model building. In Workshop on Model Computation at CADE 2003, 2003. Google Scholar
  5. Eliseo Clementini and Paolino Di Felice. A comparison of methods for representing topological relationships. Inf. Sci., 3(3):149-178, 1995. Google Scholar
  6. Eliseo Clementini and Paolino Di Felice. A model for representing topological relationships between complex geometric features in spatial databases. Inf. Sci., 90(1):121-136, 1996. Google Scholar
  7. Anthony G. Cohn and Jochen Renz. Qualitative Spatial Representation and Reasoning. In F. van Harmelen, V. Lifschitz, and B. Porter, editors, Handbook of Knowledge Representation. Elsevier, 2008. Google Scholar
  8. Max J. Egenhofer. Reasoning about binary topological relations. In Symp. on Large Spatial Databases (SSD'91), LNCS 525, pages 141-160. Springer, 1991. Google Scholar
  9. Max J. Egenhofer and John Herring. Categorizing binary topological relations between regions, lines, and points in geographic databases. Technical report, Department of Surveying Engineering, Univ. of Maine, 1991. Google Scholar
  10. Giorgio De Felice, Paolo Fogliaroni, and Jan Oliver Wallgrün. A Hybrid Geometric-Qualitative Spatial Reasoning System and Its Application in GIS. In Conf. on Spatial Inf. Theory (COSIT-09), 2009. Google Scholar
  11. Paolo Fogliaroni, Paul Weiser, and Heidelinde Hobel. Qualitative Spatial Configuration Search. Spatial Cognition & Computation, 16(4):272-300, 2016. URL:
  12. Anthony Galton. Taking dimension seriously in qualitative spatial reasoning. In Europ.Conf. on Artif. Intell. (ECAI-96), pages 501-505, 1996. Google Scholar
  13. Nicholas M. Gotts. Formalizing commonsense topology: the INCH calculus. In Int. Symp. on Artif. Intell. and Math., pages 72-75, 1996. Google Scholar
  14. Michael Gruninger, Carmen Chui, and Megan Katsumi. Upper Ontologies in COLORE. In Proc. of the Joint Ontology Workshops (JOWO 2017), 2017. Google Scholar
  15. Torsten Hahmann. A Reconciliation of Logical Representations of Space: from Multidimensional Mereotopology to Geometry. PhD thesis, Univ. of Toronto, 2013. Google Scholar
  16. Torsten Hahmann. On Decomposition Operations in a Theory of Multidimensional Qualitative Space. In Int. Conf. on Formal Ontology in Inf. Syst. (FOIS 2018), pages 173-186, 2018. Google Scholar
  17. Torsten Hahmann and Michael Grüninger. A naïve theory of dimension for qualitative spatial relations. In Symp. on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning (CommonSense 2011). AAAI Press, 2011. Google Scholar
  18. Torsten Hahmann and Michael Grüninger. A Theory of Multidimensional Qualitative Space: Semantic Integration of Spatial Theories that Distinguish Interior from Boundary Contact (Extended Abstract). In Proc. of the Int. Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2011), Belfast, Maine, September 12-16, 2011, 2011. Google Scholar
  19. Torsten Hahmann and Michael Grüninger. Multidimensional mereotopology with betweenness. In Int. Joint Conf. on Artif. Intell. (IJCAI-11), pages 906-911, 2011. Google Scholar
  20. Torsten Hahmann and Michael Grüninger. Region-based Theories of Space: Mereotopology and Beyond. In Shyamanta M. Hazarika, editor, Qualitative Spatio-Temporal Representation and Reasoning: Trends and Future Directions, pages 1-62. IGI, 2012. Google Scholar
  21. J Herring. OpenGIS Implementation Standard for Geographic information - Simple feature access-Part 1: Common architecture, 2011. Google Scholar
  22. International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). ISO 19125:2004 geographic information - simple feature access, 2004. Google Scholar
  23. International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). ISO 19136:2007 geographic information - Geography Markup Language (GML), 2007. Google Scholar
  24. Zhiguo Long, Matt Duckham, Sanjiang Li, and Steven Schockaert. Indexing large geographic datasets with compact qualitative representation. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 30(6):1072-1094, 2016. URL:
  25. David M. Mark and Max J. Egenhofer. Modeling spatial relations between lines and regions: Combining formal mathematical models and human subjects testing. Cartogr. Geogr. Inf. Sci., 21(3):195-212, 1994. Google Scholar
  26. Mark McKenney, Alejandro Pauly, Reasey Praing, and Markus Schneider. Dimension-refined topological predicates. In Conf. on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS-05), pages 240-249. ACM, 2005. Google Scholar
  27. Matthew Perry and John Herring. OGC GeoSPARQL - a geographic query language for RDF data, 2012. Google Scholar
  28. David A. Randell, Zhan Cui, and Anthony G. Cohn. A spatial logic based on regions and connection. In KR'92: Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, pages 165-176, 1992. Google Scholar
  29. Markus Schneider and Thomas Behr. Topological relationships between complex spatial objects. ACM Trans. Database Systems, 31(1):39-81, 2006. Google Scholar
  30. Barry Smith. Mereotopology: a theory of parts and boundaries. Data Knowl. Eng., 20(3):287-303, 1996. Google Scholar
  31. G Sutcliffe. The TPTP Problem Library and Associated Infrastructure. From CNF to TH0, TPTP v6.4.0. Journal of Automated Reasoning, 59(4):483-502, 2017. Google Scholar