A Differential Notion of Place for Local Search

Vlad Tanasescu, John Domingue


In this paper, we argue that in a local search, the what that is queried is implicitly about places and that geographic information retrieval would therefore benefit from an investigation of the semantics of place as a geographical entity. This investigation should include both the spatial and human components constitutive of the notion of place, without which the notion does not make sense. However existing knowledge representation (KR) models, such as ontologies based on logical theories, conceptual spaces, affordance or other, cannot capture in isolation all aspects of the meaning of a place. Therefore we propose to use a combination of them based on the underlying notion of difference. Differences are linked atoms of meaning. These nuances of meaning can be captured by using a variation of the technique of free association based on tagging, without committing to any KR model. Mapping to elements of different KR models can be made later to follow the requirements of a task. We demonstrate the usefulness of the approach for local search by applying it to the notion of place redefined as that location that supports a homogeneous affordance field while allowing the homogeneity of movement.


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