Ontology for Devices

Project Information

This is the home page for the MMI Device Ontologies Working Group, a community effort to develop an ontology of oceanographic sensors.

This group is no longer active, though the ontology is frequently referenced. This work contributed to the W3C Semantic Sensor Network Working Group final report.

MMI led this effort; we sought maximum community participation and feedback. Members of the email list (see below) will receive email 24 hours before any meeting; minutes were posted after each meeting.

If you want to participate or get any additional notifications, please sign up for the mailing list. If you want to help, including setting the agenda, please mail carueda-at-mbari.org.

A fair amount of additional information may be found in the telecon minutes page and the Frequently Asked Questions page; please read that if you intend to participate.  A document consolidating the description of the device ontology is being prepared.


Develop an ontology of oceanographic devices, including both sensors (which measure things) and samplers (which pick up things). The first priority is to be able to broadly characterize the devices. One significant use of such characterizations is to help users (or web applications) discover sensors or data of interest, but a set of use cases is being developed to flesh out the work.

The ontology's terms should be able to be referenced as Uniform Resource Identifiers in sensor-related metadata specifications (e.g., SensorML, NetCDF), and resolved (e.g., through a web browser or an ontology server) to provide additional information as captured by the ontology.

We also have a number of other goals we hope to achieve.


Please see the Key Links block on the right-hand side of the group page and also this references page for various materials of interest.


  1. Logistics FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
  2. We use the short names 'devont', 'ontdev', and 'ontdevices' almost interchangeably.  Google project is 'devont'
  3. Google code project 'devont' is used mainly to:
    1. maintain the ontology and related artifacts using the SVN version control as a backup of the ontology in the ORR
    2. use the tracker system for action items and other tasks
  4. MMI Working space: http://marinemetadata.org/ontdevices
  5. Mailing list to discuss the topics : http://marinemetadata.org/mailman/listinfo/ontdev
  6. Archive of emails: http://mmi.mbari.org/pipermail/ontdev/
  7. Device Parameter Details


The effort has an extensive list of participants.

Group News and Highlights

W3C Semantic Sensor Network Incubator Working Group meets

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) convened incubator working group in 2009-2010 to consider development of ontologies and semantics for devices. The group's charter outlined two goals: