Rahoon is a nondescript area of Galway, the third-largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Unsurprisingly, I had never heard about Rahoon before last week, when I moved there, to join Giovanni Tummarello’s team at DERI Galway.
Moving is stressful. But being an RDF geek, I not only have to drag physical stuff around, but I also have to update a few triples. For example, by joining DERI I got yet another URI:
That’s a new
owl:sameAs for my FOAF file. I also have to update my
foaf:based_near triple. Until now, my FOAF file stated:
<#cygri> foaf:based_near <http://dbpedia.org/resource/Berlin> .
The obvious new value for this property would be http://dbpedia.org/resource/Galway. But I want to be a bit more specific. That’s where this post’s title comes in. *What is the URI of Rahoon?*
The big datasets: Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn’t have an article for Rahoon, hence it isn’t in DBpedia.
Then there’s Geonames, the most comprehensive source of geographical information on the Semantic Web. It has an entry for a nearby structure called Rahoon House, but not for the area itself.
The search engines: Next I tried all the Semantic Web search engines from the Linking Open Data project’s list.
Of the seven available services, only three produced any results. I was quite disappointed that the venerable Swoogle, one of the first large-scale Semantic Web indices, didn’t return any results at all.
SWSE (a DERI project) returned two hits, but neither of them was semantic (a web page mentioning Rahoon and a Bollywood-related RSS item).
Sindice (disclosure — it’s another DERI project, and I am now a team member) did much better, it found Geonames’ Rahoon House, and a bunch of loosely Rahoon-related things from DBpedia, but it didn’t turn up any URI for the Rahoon area itself.
Finally there is Falcons, a recently announced project developed at Nanjing’s Southeast University. Its results are similar to Sindice’s, except that it missed the Geonames entry.
In summary, only Falcons and Sindice found anything of interest, but neither struck gold.
Mint your own? At this point, I perhaps have to accept that the only existing relationship between RDF and Rahoon is the fact that Giovanni has been living here for a while, and that I’m not going to find a URI for the place.
The usual advice at this point is to mint a new URI for the thing in question. But I don’t want to go down this road, because I simply do not feel sufficiently competent in matters of Irish geography. What ”is” Rahoon, really? An administrative area? A geographical region? A postal code? A bus stop? I don’t know.
Based near a blank node: My solution is to ignore the widely accepted wisdom that RDF blank nodes are considered harmful. I will state that I’m living near something, and describe that something as good as I can:
foaf:based_near [ a pos:Point; pos:lat "53.27702"; pos:long "-9.09019"; rdfs:label "125 Rosan Glas, Rahoon, Galway, Ireland"; geo:parentFeature <http://sws.geonames.org/2964180/> ];
The skeleton of this N3 fragment was easily created using my FOAF geolocator (which I recently extended with address search and N3 output — have a look at it if your FOAF file still lacks geolocation!). I added a label and a link to the next-largest Geonames feature (Galway), which I easily found with Sindice.
Rahoon is still without a URI, but I guess I should let it be for now and rather worry about applying for a social security number, registering for taxation, and so forth.
DERI! At any rate, I’m happy to be here and look forward to working with a great team on some very exciting projects.