Alvaro Graves recently discussed the semantic technology behind Poderopedia, a project out of the Poderomedia Foundation that hopes to promote greater transparency in Chile by mapping and visualizing relationships among Chile's elite. Graves writes, "One of the first technological decisions we made in Poderopedia… was to adopt semantic technologies to store and query data. These technologies allow us to represent a diverse set of relations between entities (people, companies, organizations) in a flexible way. The goal is to identify and express relations of power and influence of people and organizations. While we're focused on Chilean political, civic and business leaders, this vocabulary can be used in other contexts with minor or no modifications at all."
He continues, "We decided to use OWL (Web Ontology Language) as the basis of our work to define our vocabulary, because it provides us the semantic richness and extensibility we needed for our goals. We also based our work on two main vocabularies: Friend-of-a-friend (FOAF) to express information about people, organizations, etc. and BIO, an extension of FOAFfocused on biographical information. Starting from those vocabularies, we extended them to incorporate what we called "Connections," that is, relations between people, companies, organizations and news, with some context -- we added many new classes and subclasses of connections. This may sound trivial, but it involved a lot of debate and the hard work of our entire team before we could show it to others -- with the hope that it could be a small contribution to the open-source community."
Image: Courtesy Poderopedia