Call for Papers: Special Issue on Semantic Technologies and Interoperability in the Built Environment

Call for papers: Special Issue on

Semantic Technologies and Interoperability in the Built Environment

Description of the topic

The built environment encompasses a variety of artefacts ranging from buildings to infrastructures. These artefacts are related at different scales –from the singular building, furniture, street lights… to the entire city–, and are interlinked in multiple ways –buildings connected to supply infrastructures and transport networks, buildings defining public spaces–.

Multiple stakeholders collaborate in various ways through the design, construction and operation phases of the built environment, including specialists (architects, engineers, and contractors), local administrators, and citizens. An effective collaboration between the different actors throughout the different phases of the lifecycle of the built environment requires access to data from various domains. These data are provided in various languages and scales, and they considerably evolve over time. Hence, keeping the consistency between the data throughout the whole lifecycle is fundamental to assure an effective collaboration between the stakeholders.

Devices are used to retrieve information from the built environment (monitoring systems at the building and urban level) and models of the artefacts interact with multiple tools (simulations of the building energy performance, level of occupancy in buildings) in order to take more informed decisions to improve the built environment. Hence, flexible mechanisms are required to facilitate the exchange of data between the different actors intervening at the different stages, and to provide the required interoperability between data, tools and devices. Standard data models such as the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) –for building models– and CityGML –for urban models– support the interoperability between data and tools. However, they often lack the flexibility that is required by working processes, which are, more often than not, unique and difficult to standardize and replicate.

Semantic Web technologies are being applied to overcome the limitations of the standard data models by enabling more flexible ways to interlink data from various scales and domains in order to facilitate the interoperability among data, tools, systems and actors that intervene in the creation and use of the built environment. Furthermore, such flexible data publication and consumption mechanisms, based on Semantic Web technologies, facilitate the accessibility of data from different scales and domains, such as geographical data (GIS data), urban data (Socioeconomic, Planning), infrastructure data (Smart Grids) and social data (Users’ feedback).

This integration of data opens up a vast range of applications, in particular in the AEC/FM sector, but also outside this industry, into topics and ventures like Smart Cities, semantic sensor networks, home automation systems, smart grids, and geographical information systems.


This special issue focuses on the application of semantic technologies to the built environment. The submitted works can deal with theoretical underpinnings, the development of new tools and methods, and their implementation in demonstration cases. We welcome original submissions that address (but are not restricted to) the following areas:

  • Ontologies for AEC/FM: ifcOWL, ifcWoD, cobieOWL, DOGONT, SAREF…
  • Linking BIM models to external data sources
  • Integration of multiple scales through semantic interoperability (e.g. IFC and CityGML)
  • Multilingual data access and annotation
  • Query processing
  • Industrial query performance benchmarks
  • Semantic-based building monitoring systems
  • Reasoning with building information (OWA vs. CWA)
  • Building Data publication strategies
  • Multi-model management
  • Building model change management
  • Internet of Building Things
  • Management of spatio-temporal information
  • Big linked data for building information
  • Semantic-based systems for AEC/FM
  • Linked building Data repositories
  • Privacy and Security of Building Data
  • Home Automation
  • Semantic Sensor Networks, Smart Meters and Smart Grids
  • Semantic Services and Agent Systems


The Special Issue on Semantic Technologies and Interoperability in the Built Environment calls for original high-quality research on any of the above mentioned topics. Extended versions of manuscripts published in conferences and workshops are welcome as long as the previous publications are clearly acknowledged and the new submission introduces substantial revisions and updates. Authors should submit a manuscript through the Semantic Web Journal on-line system, following the guidelines available at Please indicate in the cover letter that it is for the Special Issue on Semantic Technologies and Interoperability in the Built Environment. All manuscripts will be reviewed based on the SWJ open and transparent review policy and will be made available online during the review process.

Important Dates

  • April 15, 2017: Paper submission deadline (extended!)
  • June 1, 2017: Notification of acceptance

Guest editors

  • Álvaro Sicilia, ARC Engineering and Architecture La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain
  • Pieter Pauwels, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • Leandro Madrazo, ARC Engineering and Architecture La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain
  • María Poveda Villalón, Ontology Engineering Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
  • Jérôme Euzenat, INRIA & Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France

The guest editors can be contacted at

Guest editorial board

The guest editorial board will be recruited based on the topics of the submitted papers.