SEMANTIC METADATA FOR HETEROGENEOUS SPATIAL PLANNING DOCUMENTS
Spatial planning documents contain information about the principles and rights of land use in different zones of a local authority. They are the basis for administrative decision making in support of sustainable development. In Poland these documents are published on the Web according to a prescribed non-extendable XML schema, designed for optimum presentation to humans in HTML web pages. There is no document standard, and limited functionality exists for adding references to external resources. The text in these documents is discoverable and searchable by general-purpose web search engines, but the semantics of the content cannot be discovered or queried. The spatial information in these documents is geographically referenced but not machine-readable. Major manual efforts are required to integrate such heterogeneous spatial planning documents from various local authorities for analysis, scenario planning and decision support. This article presents results of an implementation using machine-readable semantic metadata to identify relationships among regulations in the text, spatial objects in the drawings and links to external resources. A spatial planning ontology was used to annotate different sections of spatial planning documents with semantic metadata in the Resource Description Framework in Attributes (RDFa). The semantic interpretation of the content, links between document elements and links to external resources were embedded in XHTML pages. An example and use case from the spatial planning domain in Poland is presented to evaluate its efficiency and applicability. The solution enables the automated integration of spatial planning documents from multiple local authorities to assist decision makers with understanding and interpreting spatial planning information. The approach is equally applicable to legal documents from other countries and domains, such as cultural heritage and environmental management.