SNAP and SPAN: Towards Dynamic Spatial Ontology

Pierre Grenon, Barry Smith
2004 Spatial Cognition and Computation  
We propose a modular ontology of the dynamic features of reality. This amounts, on the one hand, to a purely spatial ontology supporting snapshot views of the world at successive instants of time and, on the other hand, to a purely spatiotemporal ontology of change and process. We argue that dynamic spatial ontology must combine these two distinct types of inventory of the entities and relationships in reality, and we provide characterizations of spatiotemporal reasoning in the light of the
more » ... rconnections between them. of accounting for spatial reality both synchronically (as it exists at a time) and diachronically (as it unfolds through time), but that these are two different tasks. Our approach thus rests on what might be described as a joint venture between the so-called three-dimensionalist and four-dimensionalist perspectives current in contemporary philosophical ontology. The paper is structured as follow. We lay out the methodological and philosophical foundations of our approach and we present the main elements of its formalization. Our two main ontological theories, namely SNAP and SPAN, are presented in sections 3 and 4, and section 5 discusses the structures which link them together. Finally we apply our framework to the domain of geography, culminating in the outline of an ontologically well-founded and comprehensive dynamic geospatial ontology.
doi:10.1207/s15427633scc0401_5 fatcat:s7csmzanb5cexcqmkqrcjywolm