EUCISE-OWL: An Ontology-based Representation of the Common Information Sharing Environment for the Maritime Domain (CISE)

Tracking #: 2234-3447

Marina Riga
Efstratios Kontopoulos
Konstantinos Ioannidis
Spyridon Kintzios
Stefanos Vrochidis
Ioannis Kompatsiaris

Responsible editor: 
Stefano Borgo

Submission type: 
Ontology Description
The timely and efficient cooperation across sectors and borders during maritime crises is paramount for the safety of human lives. Maritime monitoring authorities are now realizing the grave importance of cross-sector and cross-border information sharing. However, this cooperation is compromised by the diversity of existing systems and the vast volumes of heterogeneous data generated and exchanged during maritime operations. In order to address these challenges, the EU has been driving a number of initiatives, including several EU-funded projects, for facilitating information exchange across sectors and borders. A key outcome from these efforts is the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE), which constitutes a collaborative initiative for promoting automated information sharing between maritime monitoring authorities. However, the adoption of CISE is substantially limited by its existing serialization as an XML Schema only, which facilitates information sharing and exchange to some extent, but fails to deliver the fundamental additional benefits provided by ontologies, like the richer semantics, enhanced semantic interoperability and semantic reasoning capabilities. Thus, this paper presents EUCISE-OWL, an ontology representation of the CISE data model that capitalizes on the benefits provided by ontologies and aims to encourage the adoption of CISE. EUCISE-OWL is an outcome from close collaboration in an EU-funded project with domain experts with extensive experience in deploying CISE in practice. The paper also presents a representative use case for handling information exchange during a maritime crisis, demonstrating thus the use of the proposed ontology in practice.
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Major Revision

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Review #1
By Guohui Xiao submitted on 11/Aug/2019
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

The submitted manuscript describes the ontology EUCISE for the common information sharing environment (CISE) for the maritime domain. The EUCISE-OWL ontology is derived from the EUCISE2020 data model, which is defined as an XML schema and UML diagrams. The XML schema significantly restricts the application of the EUCISE2020. Hence, the ROBORDER project takes the EUCISE2020 model and converts it into an OWL ontology, which enables data sharing using this ontology. The paper describes in detail how the ontology is created from the UML diagrams. The metrics of the OWL ontology and use cases are provided. The ontology has been evaluated using several methods. The paper is mostly well-written and relatively easy to follow. More detailed comments are below:

- title
It is probably not necessary to include (CISE) in the title. If yes, "Common Information Sharing Environment for the Maritime Domain (CISE)" => "Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) for the Maritime Domain"

- Section 3.
Enumerations and Enumeration Types.
- It might be natural to use nominals for enumeration. Some discussion is desired.

- Section 4.
- while checking the ontology, it seems that the ontology can be improved by reusing existing standard ontologies like OWL Time ontology and GeoSPARQL.
- What is the difference between the concept eucise:Period and time:TemporalEntity?
- eucise:Geometry vs geosparql:Geometry

- Section 5.
- The section name might be a bit misleading. One would expect a "Use case" section is describing the adoption of the ontology in real-world use-cases. A title like "examples" might be more appropriate.

- Section 6.
- It would be useful to show the running time of consistency checking and other reasoning tasks (e.g. query answering) with a large number of instances.

- Section 8.
- It would be useful to elaborate on how to standardize and promote the EUCISE-OWL ontology so that it can be widely adopted.

Review #2
Anonymous submitted on 24/Aug/2019
Major Revision
Review Comment:

This paper presents a serialization of EUCISE XML schema and UML diagrams as an OWL ontology. Although there has been a cosiderable effort for the development of the ontology, it is not well presented in the paper. For this reason the paper should be revised.

Specifically, authors in introduction state that the motivation for developing the proposed ontology, is to benefit from semantic interoperatbility and reasoning capabilities. In my humble opinion, there should be some section in the paper, proving that the proposed ontology indeed satisfies the corresponding goals, i.e. presenting SPARQL queries, correspondences to concepts or imports to other ontologies and experimental results on reasoning tasks.

Another important issue, is that section 2 outlines the EUCISE2020 main concepts (what about the relations?) but these are never explicitly described in the paper. Section 3 describes mappings between UML and OWL, but it is not clear how this section is related to the rest of the work, i.e. how have these mappings been used for the development of the ontology, in the NeOn methodology? There seem to be some misconceptions in this section, e.g. in Table 1 the mapping for UML instance to OWL individual should be "ex:instance rdf:type ex:Cls . ex:Cls rdf:type owl:Class" instead of "ex:instance rdf:type owl:Class" (the latter describe that ex:instance is a Class). In general, the examples would have been more helpful if terms of the ontology had been used instead of "ClassA", "ClassB", etc. Also, authors should justify the need for association Classes/Roles, explain how these are used and how they affect the performance of query answering and reasoning tasks.

Section 4 presents the OWL implementation of EUCISE (i.e. the main contribution of this work) and it should delve into more details, i.e. describe the core concepts and roles, provide examples and explain the use of predefined individuals. Did authors consult also other documents (including other ontologies) for the development of this ontology, or only EUCISE? If they have not consulted other documents, how do they guarantee semantic interoperability? Is this ontology only related to SKOS schema? What about other domain specific concepts (e.g. Agent, Location, Event)? The Use Case presented in section 5, could have been used as a running example in the section presenting the core concepts and relations of the proposed ontology, i.e. it could explain why association classes are necessary (and why OWL relations do not suffice).

Also important issue, is that the proposed ontology is not compared to the related work and the need for another ontology in the domain is not justified. Authors should answer at least the following in this section:
b) Does the proposed ontology overlap or complement other ontologies in related work?
c) Where does this ontology excel and where does it fail?

Finally, the ontology evaluation section is not actually evaluating the ontology. Authors have tested the correctness (consistency) of the ontology using common reasoners, but they have not presented performance results on reasoning tasks using a populated with real data version of the ontology. The figures alone presented for attribute and inheritance richness, do not justify that the proposed ontology excels over the other ontologies in the related work.