International Workshop on Moving Objects From Natural to Formal Language to be held in conjunction with GIScience 2008, Park City, Utah, USA

Modeling ‘reality’ has always been a fundamental issue in geography. Considering two major aspects of reality, i.e., space and time, leads to a crucial GIScience research domain concerning moving objects. Indeed, motion or movement enters the picture whenever one and the same object occupies different positions in space at different times. In this context, the use of natural and formal languages and their relations is a hot research topic.

Years ago, the unavailability of robust geocomputational tools and the lack of georeferenced individual-level travel data hypothecated the research about moving objects. Nowadays, location-aware technologies allowing collecting (mobile phones, GPSs, RF-IDs are just some), storing and processing moving object data are abundant. However, there is still a lot of work to do in extracting and transforming from raw moving object data into relevant information, and in how to move in between natural and formal language.
It seems clear that some modeling improvements (through fundamental research) are still needed in order to optimally represent and reason about movements in real-life. In a way, we are evolving from a binary interaction between, at the one hand, real-world and computer and, at the other hand, real-world and human, towards a ternary interaction between real-world, computer and human. Such an optimal interaction needs to be underpinned in order to reach future GISystems that will be able to handle moving objects both formally and naturally.
In this context, natural and formal languages can be seen as two extremes in the way of modeling, representing and reasoning about space and time. Indeed, traditionally, both ways of abstracting from reality are considered as quite far apart from each other. The question needs to be asked whether we need to handle natural and formal language as two extremes or whether we need to handle both as forming one continuum.
This workshop focuses on a ‘hot direction’ in current GIScience research which completely fits into Naive Geography, trying to answer among others the following fundamental questions:
– How do objects move and interact, and what are their semantics?
– How do we talk about moving objects?
– How do we formalize (using qualitative calculi, data models, database models …) moving objects?
– How can we use natural language in the modeling of moving objects?
– How does one classify and formalize motion events/verbs and prepositions indicating motion?

– Is a formal classification the same as a psychologically plausible classification?
– Is a classification for language the same as a classification for perception?
– Do researchers from different disciplines work with the same reference frames for motion?

Topics relevant to the workshop include, but are not limited to the following:
– Spatio-temporal reasoning, in particular concerning moving objects
– Spatio-temporal linguistics, in particular concerning moving objects
– Conceptual modeling of moving objects

– Database modeling of moving objects
– Research about the perception of moving objects
– Change of object’s shape while moving
The aim of this workshop is to have a clear current state of the art and to have in depth discussions about the different topics, as well as to propose new research lines. Therefore, we encourage both original submissions and papers that have already been published in excellent conferences in 2007-2008 to be presented and discussed again at the workshop. Papers may be up to 6 pages and must be written in English according to the Springer LNCS formatting guidelines. Submissions should be made in PDF or Word format and all figures and tables should be included in place. Submit to
All papers will be peer-reviewed. They will be carefully evaluated based on originality, significance, technical soundness, and clarity of expression. Each paper will be read by two referees. Accepted papers will be invited for presentation at the workshop. The workshop will be organized in a way to stimulate interaction amongst the participants. To this aim, an important part of each regular time slot will be reserved for discussion. All accepted papers will be published in informal proceedings and we aim at publishing (post-workshop) a special issue in a leasing GIS journal for the best 3-5 papers of the workshop (to be confirmed).

May 30, 2008: Deadline for workshop contributions (papers by participants)
June 30, 2008: Notification of acceptance of workshop papers

– Christophe Claramunt (Naval Academy Research Institute, France)
– Eliseo Clementini (University of L’Aquila, Italy)
– Christian Freksa (University of Bremen, Germany)
– Bjorn Gottfried (University of Bremen, Germany)
– Kathleen Hornsby (University of Iowa, USA)
– Alexander Klippel (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
– Stefano Spaccapietra (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Lausanne, Switzerland)

– Emile van der Zee (University of Lincoln, England)
– Joost Zwarts (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)

– Nico Van de Weghe,
Ghent University, Department of Geography, Belgium
– Roland Billen,
University of Liège, Department of Geography, Belgium

– Bart Kuijpers,
Hasselt University, Theoretical Computer Science, Belgium
– Peter Bogaert,
Ghent University, Department of Geography, Belgium

Matthias Delafontaine (UGent), Pierre Hallot (ULiège), Wallied Othman (Hasselt U)