It’s just data

Collaborative Mapping

Jo Walsh is attempting to map the world.  This was the first time I was able to catch a glimpse at the appeal that RDF hold to so many.

The mental image of hoards of people jotting down notes in the simplest possible means that could possible work (nodes and arcs), and letting search engines worry about determining consensus appeals to me.

Real-World RDF

Jo Walsh has created a Semantic Web system that appeals quite strongly - a means of using RDF to map... [more]

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What does he gain by using RDF? It seems he could just as easily use a real XML vocabulary and get the same benefits and the benefits of, er, not using RDF.

Posted by Bo at

Bo, first for background, you have to realize that I have been a skeptic of RDF.  I spent a fair portion of my career trying to make fine grained information models and top down structure work on top of an Object Oriented database.  It has colored my thinking and still sends shivers down my spine.

This being said, I did see a real application in which the problem domain was literally nodes and arcs.  This maps very naturally to a vocabulary which was designed for this expressed purpose.

All too often RDF discussions seem to start with "first we define the ontology".  This talk was refreshing... instead she seemed to focus only on the absolute minimum level of agreement that one could imagine.  Nodes were places.  Arc were routes.  Perhaps we should capture who recorded the information.  Not much more.  Start small.  See what emerges.

Even with that modest goal, things still need to be reconciled.  You would think that latitude and longitude would be relatively unanbiguous quanties.  But take a look at any too maps of an area by different companies.  Parks and major landmarks are shaped differently and placed in subtlely different locations.  This is the real world of data modeling.

Am I an RDF convert?  Not by a long shot.  RDF certainly isn't the solution to all the worlds problems.  And I still believe that ontologies are something you discover, not something you impose.  But now I concede that there may be niches for RDF.  And that is a start.  Perhaps I've underestimated the size of the niche.  I'm now a lot more open minded on the subject before I saw Jo's presentation.

I like that.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Jo Walsh on MP3

Jo Walsh's Collaborative Mapping on the Semantic Web is now available as an MP3. Sam Ruby was quite impressed with her ...

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Jo Walsh on MP3

Jo Walsh's Collaborative Mapping on the Semantic Web is now available as an MP3. Sam Ruby was quite impressed with her talk. ...

Excerpt from Bitflux Blog at

"What does he gain by using RDF?" - he is a she

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OSCOM 3 coverage

OSCOM 3 is history. Lots of articles and blog entries were written. Here is a first batch: OSCOM was a...... [more]

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Klein Bottle Walking Tour

I've really enjoyed Jon Udell's explorations into what he refers to as screencasting.  As a non-commuter who exhibits several of the  symptoms of Adult ADD, and one who has female companionship accompanying him on his daily walks, I'm not really in the... [more]

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