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Discovering French Monuments, With the Help of the Semantic Web

By   /  December 23, 2011  /  No Comments

An app to discover 44,000 French monuments. Completed in four days. By one person. Without coding.


Head over to this demo from Antidot, publisher of Information Factory and Antidot Finder Suite software, and you can see the search mash-up it says was created by simply assembling existing components using its technology. Information Factory handled the data processing work flow that resulted in a data mesh outputting an RDF graph containing more than 4.5 million tripesl, with about 450,000 inferred from open data sources.

The mashup brings together open data from sources including France’s list of Protected buildings that’s compiled in a CSV file at the country’s newly launched data.gouv.fr site; passenger stations of the French national rail network with geocoded information from an XLS file, which hails from the same source; Paris metro stations with geocoded information from OpenStreeMap; an RDF graph of region and township data from INSEE’s Official Geographic Code; photos of historical monuments thanks in large part to the Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 European contest; DBpedia descriptions of historical monuments in RDF; and Yahoo! Location information via Yahoo! PlaceFinder that can geotag monuments from their addresses.

The workflow process handled by Information Factory included, according to the vendor’s blog, cleansing, normalizing and transforming CSV, XLS and Wikimedia Commons data into RDF, among other steps. The resulting triple store, it says, is the unique input for the indexing module of its Anditodot Finder Suite search engine. Users can find historical monuments using full text search, for specific regions, departments or cities, and by type of monument (such as castle or church), historical period or ownership, or any combination via faceted searches. The results show, the blog says, “the power and accuracy of the Semantic Web approach and technologies as promoted by W3C.”

You may not be heading to France for the holiday break, but you can certainly while away some time exploring its history and beauty at home, café au lait in hand.












About the author

Jennifer Zaino is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in business and technology journalism. She has been an executive editor at leading technology publications, including InformationWeek, where she spearheaded an award-winning news section, and Network Computing, where she helped develop online content strategies including review exclusives and analyst reports. Her freelance credentials include being a regular contributor of original content to The Semantic Web Blog; acting as a contributing writer to RFID Journal; and serving as executive editor at the Smart Architect Smart Enterprise Exchange group. Her work also has appeared in publications and on web sites including EdTech (K-12 and Higher Ed), Ingram Micro Channel Advisor, The CMO Site, and Federal Computer Week.

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