Semantic Interoperability


  • Vahid Mojtahed
  • Mika Cohen
  • Thomas Jansson
  • Ulrik Franke
  • Jelena Zdravkovic
  • Daniel Oskarsson
  • Christian Mårtenson
  • Hirad Asadi

Publish date: 2012-12-31

Report number: FOI-R--3530--SE

Pages: 40

Written in: Swedish


  • Semantic interoperability
  • C2 systems
  • system integration
  • ontologies
  • SILF


Today most technical systems are information systems or have important parts that are. There is an ever increasing need to integrate with other information systems. Timely and correct information exchange between systems can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful collaboration. Mere physical connectivity by itself does not guarantee that critical information sent will not be misunderstood by the receiver. Without a clear strategy for systems integration there is a risk that systems become unusable in future critical operations, or that the cost of integration accelerates throughout the system life cycle. Incomplete integrations that connect systems at a technical level but fail to convey the meaning of the information exchanged can, at worst, lead to fatal mistakes in critical operations. Despite these risks, the need for semantic interoperability (SI) has not received wide attention. Within NATO, however, a research and technology group was created in 2006 in order to address the problem of semantic interoperability. FOI, on behalf of the Swedish Armed Forces, has been part of this group since 2007. The result of the NATO group is a framework for semantic interoperability called SILF (Semantic interoperability Logical Framework). A transfer project began at FOI in 2010 with three main goals: continue the collaboration with the NATO group, maintain the specialized competence in semantic interoperability, and conduct "proof of concept" demonstrations that show the increased flexibility and reduced cost that technologies such as SILF promise. Over the years FOI has developed unique knowledge and insight into how information systems can be integrated so as to save costs throughout the whole system life cycle. This report summarises the work of FOI in this area. The report has two primary goals. Firstly, to show that a knowledge-based approach such as SILF is a mature solution for semantic interoperability among heterogeneous C2-systems operating in a coalition context. Secondly, the report aims to draw attention to semantic interoperability and the need for decision makers at all levels to consider it, as decisions early in the life cycle of a system can greatly reduce future integration costs. In particular, the total cost over time can be reduced if procurements require systems to be shipped with so called semantic descriptions.