Automated Interpretation of Place Descriptions: Determining Entity Types for Querying OSM
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This paper is concerned with interpretation of natural language place descriptions, as they are a rich source of geographic information. A place description is interpreted by matching geographic entities occurring in the text against the OpenStreetMap (OSM) database. This paper is mainly concerned with interpretation of paraphrased places, i.e., entities for which no name is given and which may only by described. Our objective is to determine suitable entity types that allow querying the OpenStreetMap database for the respective place. For example, if we wish to identify a place to eat , we have to check for entities of an a-priori unknown type (cafe, restaurant, etc.). Challenges arise from the open-endedness of language, its ambiguity, and context-sensitivity as well as from mismatches between human conceptualization of place and database ontologies. The contributions of this paper are, first, to present a hard problem that is key to geo-information retrieval beyond named entities. Second, we propose context-sensitive methods for identifying place types based on semantic word similarity. We evaluate the methods on text extracted from Wikipedia and travel blogs, revealing their contribution to advancing automated interpretation of place descriptions to paraphrased places.