Tutorial "Building Semantic Sensor Webs and Applications" at ESWC 2011

Tutorial at the 8th Extended Semantic Web Conference ESWC 2011, Sunday 29th May, Heraklion, Greece.

The term Semantic Sensor Web has recently been used to refer to the combination of sensor network, Web and semantic technologies with the view of addressing the opportunity that we have to unify the real and the virtual world. Sensor networks promise to bridge the gap that, for too long, has separated computing applications from the physical world that they model and in which they are ultimately embedded.

Many scientific and technological challenges need to be tackled before sensor networks can be exploited to their full capacity. Additionally, as more and more sensor networks are independently developed and deployed, it becomes increasingly important to support their reuse in applications that were not foreseen or that transcend their original purpose. This will facilitate the use of sensor web technology to support decision-making that requires on-the-fly integration of data of differing modalities, e.g. sensed data with data stored in databases, as well as the ad hoc generation of mashups over data stemming from computations that combine real-time and legacy historical data. This, in turn, will enable the enacting of decisions based on such real-time sensed data.

This tutorial aims at presenting the components that comprise a semantic sensor web and the mechanisms to exploit these in creating an application. The tutorial targets researchers and practitioners interested in working with semantic sensor web technologies.

The tutorial will take place on Sunday 29th May 2011. The duration of this tutorial is half day, from 14:30 to 18:00.

Tutorial Description

Aims and Target Audience

The tutorial aims at providing participants with knowledge of the basic concepts and tools to build semantically enabled applications and services that rely partially or totally on data coming from sensor networks. The target audience will be developers who wish to build such applications, together with other people interested in the basic concepts of semantic sensor networks and their potential benefits and uses.

Presentation Method and Technical Requirements

The tutorial will consist of a mix of lectures and hands-on sessions. A short introductory lecture will be followed by component specific overviews and practical labs, culminating in an example mashup application that utilises these services in combination with external Linked Data sources.

A basic understanding of the terms and technologies of the Semantic Web (the Semantic Web stack: RDF, SPARQL, etc.) will be assumed as well as minimal Java programming and web scripting familiarity. We also expect participants to bring their own laptop to participate in the hands-on sessions, although this does not exclude people who are interested in the topic and may not have skills or a laptop, since they will be also able to follow most of the tutorial adequately through our demo presentations.

Content & Schedule

There will be a short introduction to set the scene for applications that make use of semantically annotated data published by sensor networks. The next session will provide an overview of the services that can be combined to create a coherent system. The following sessions will cover the key components one-by-one in which the participants will use services and create an example mashup application.

Introduction: (20 minutes) Download ppt1, Download ppt2

  • Overview of semantic sensor web

Semantic Sensor Web Components: (20 minutes) Download ppt

  • Identifying the components that comprise a sensor web architecture
  • Describe the interactions between the components of a sensor web architecture

Discovering Sources for a Region: (20 minutes theory + 30 minutes practical) Download ppt

  • Extend RDF to represent thematic, spatial and temporal information.
  • Extend SPARQL to query RDF graphs using thematic, spatial and temporal criteria.
  • Hands on:
    • Create and register the description of a sensor describing its thematic and spatial characteristics
    • Compose and execute SPARQL queries using thematic and spatial criteria.

Coffee break (15 minutes)

Querying Streaming Data through Ontologies: (20 minutes theory + 30 minutes practical) Download ppt

  • Theoretical foundations of ontology-based data access to streams.
  • Defining mappings from existing data streams to ontologies.
  • Extending SPARQL with streaming operators, translating extended queries into data stream queries.
  • Hands-on:
    • Registering an ontology-enabled streaming data resource.
    • Launching continuous queries in SPARQL-Stream
    • Retrieving streaming data from an underlying resource providing sensor networks data.

Sensor Data and Semantic Mashups: (20 minutes theory + 30 minutes practical) Download ppt, Download pdf

  • Introduction to lightweight web application development, REST and Linked Data principles, data reuse, and their application to semantic sensor webs
  • Methods for publishing sensor (and related) data on the Semantic Web
  • Hands-on: create a web mashup of sensor resources and Linked Data


Oscar Corcho is an Associate Professor at Departamento de Inteligencia Artificial, Facultad de Informática, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He also belongs to the Ontology Engineering Group at UPM. His research activities are focused on Semantic e-Science, Semantic Web and Ontological Engineering. In these areas, he has participated in a number of EU projects (SemsorGrid4Env, ADMIRE, OntoGrid, Esperonto, Knowledge Web and OntoWeb), and Spanish R&D projects (CENITS mIO! and Buscamedia), and has also participated in privately-funded projects like ICPS (International Classification of Patient Safety), funded by the World Health Organisation, and HALO, funded by Vulcan Inc. He has published two books, "Ontological Engineering" and "A layered declarative approach to ontology translation with knowledge preservation", and more than 50 papers in journals, conferences and workshops. He usually participates in the organisation or in the programme committees of relevant international conferences and workshops.

Alasdair J G Gray is a post-doctoral research associate in the Information Management Group, School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, UK. He received his PhD in 2007 on integrating streaming data and has been involved in number of research projects using semantic techniques to integrate data, with a particular focus on streaming data such as produced by sensors. He is currently working on the EU project SemSorGrid4Env where he has led the architecture effort. Dr Gray has tutored both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, taught school leavers courses, and been involved with the supervision of several masters students.

Kostis Kyzirakos is a researcher at the Management of Data & Information Knowledge Group, Department of Informatics, University of Athens. He received his Diploma in Engineering from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NTUA, Athens. He has participated in EU and Greek R&D Projects (TELEIOS, SemsorGrid4Env, Ontogrid, P2P Techniques for Semantic Web Services). His research focuses on modeling and querying
semantic spatio-temporal information.

Jean-Paul Calbimonte is a researcher at the Ontology Engineering Group, Departamento de Inteligencia Artificial, Facultad de Informática, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, since June 2009. He received a Masters degree in Computer Science in 2007 from EPFL, Switzerland. He is currently working in the SemSorGrid4Env project, where his research focuses on integrating different and heterogeneous data sources form sensor networks, using semantic technologies and ontology-based mapping approaches.

Kevin Page is a researcher in the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia group, School of Electronics & Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK and the Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford, UK. His work on web architecture and the semantic annotation and distribution of data has, through participation in several UK, EU, and international projects, been applied across a wide variety of domains including sensor networks, music information retrieval, clinical healthcare, and remote collaboration for space exploration. He has undertaken undergraduate lecturing, demonstrating, and supervision, and led and delivered Further Education courses in programming.


This work has been supported by the European Commission project SemSorGrid4Env (FP7-223913).

SemSorGrid4Env - Semantic Sensor Grids for Rapid Application Development for Environmental Management
SemSorGrid4Env is a joint project of seven European partners co-funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme
under DG INFSO H.4 "ICT for Sustainable Growth", starting in September 2008 with a duration of three years.