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K-State Today

May 18, 2022

K-State computer science duo help develop KnowWhereGraph

Submitted by Grant Guggisberg

Pascal Hitzler

A team of collaborators that includes Pascal Hitzler, Lloyd T. Smith Creativity in Engineering chair and professor of computer science at Kansas State University, is set to release the KnowWhereGraph. It is designed to be one of the biggest publicly available knowledge graphs ever.

The KnowWhereGraph Project is an open cross-domain knowledge graph and associated toolset that rapidly raises the situational awareness of data scientists and decision-makers by providing detailed area briefings for any place on Earth.

KnowWhereGraph features a set of tools for representing, exploring, visualizing and analyzing human and environment data that are open, cross-domain, deeply integrated and densely connected. At the project's core is the KnowWhere Graph, a geo-knowledge graph that is based on existing standards like RDF, OWL and GeoSPARQL. It incorporates custom ontologies and uses a hierarchical discrete global grid for spatial representations.

Its current size exceeds 12 billion triples or graph statements, and the covered data support pilot scenarios in disaster relief, agricultural land use and food-related supply chains. These data include observations of natural hazards — such as hurricanes, wildfires and smoke plumes — and spatial characteristics related to climate, such as temperature, precipitation and air quality; soil properties; crop and land-cover types; demographics; experts and their expertise; and human health; among others.

Hitzler and Cogan Shimizu, postdoctoral fellow in the K-State computer science department, have centrally contributed to knowledge graph design and construction.

"KnowWhereGraph is a first but substantial step toward comprehensive and easy-to-use publicly available data that is highly relevant to the food system," Hitzler said.

KnowWhereGraph is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of its Convergence Accelerator program. The team includes members from the following groups: 

  • Academia, including the lead principal investigator Krzysztof Janowicz from the University of California, Santa Barbara; Kansas State University; Michigan State University; Arizona State University; and the University of Southern California.
  • Nonprofit sector, including Direct Relief.
  • Industry, including Esri, Oliver Wyman and Hydronos Labs.
  • U.S. federal government, including the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Agriculture.