Msc thesis subject: A semantic markup for land cover classification systems with description logics

Land cover classification systems is widely acknowledged that are not founded on logically consistent classification schemes (Herold et al 2009). However, there is an ever increasing demand for harmonized access to LULC products. This thesis aims to develop an axiom-based ontology in the Web Ontology Language (OWL) to enable the automated translation across LULC classification scemes in the Semantic Web.

The UN Land Cover Classification System currently provides and most comprehensive approach for land cover characterization, and documents thoroughly the discrepancies between class definitions across most popular LULC systems. This thesis aims to transcribe those findings in OWL format and demonstrate its use for the interoperable semantic web.


  • Define a vocabulary of terms to correspond to UN LCCS
  • Develop rules, i.e. in the form of OWL axioms, to define the semantics of the Anderson Classification Scheme, CORINE, and IGBP.
  • Verify logical consistency of the approach
  • Demonstrate automated translations across different LULC systems


  • Antoniou G, Van Harmelen F. A semantic web primer. MIT press; 2004.
  • Di Gregorio, A. Land Cover Classification System Classification: Concepts and User Manual, UN FAO, 2005
  • Herold, M, Hubald R, Di Gregorio A. Translating and evaluating land cover legends using the UN Land Cover Classification System (LCSS), GOFC_GOLD Report No 43, 2009.


  • Data management course
  • Geo-scripting course
  • Programming in Python course

Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation, Human – space interaction