AAAI Publications, Twenty-Third International FLAIRS Conference

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Toponym Disambiguation Using Events
Kirk Roberts, Cosmin Adrian Bejan, Sanda Harabagiu

Last modified: 2010-05-06


Spatial information that grounds events geographically is often ambiguous, mainly because the same location name can be used in different states, countries, or continents. Spatial mentions, known as toponyms, must be disambiguated in order to understand many spatial relations within a document. Previous methods have utilized both "flat" and ontology-based ranking techniques to identify the correct reference. We argue that the use of location ontologies alone is not sufficient. Since toponyms are used in documents that refer to events grounded geographically, additional pragmatic knowledge can thus be used. To be able to identify the correct reference we enhanced ontology-based methods previously reported with techniques that consider the participants in events including people, organizations, and locations. Disambiguating geographical names over an ontology is cast as a probabilistic problem resolved by logistic regression. Our experimental results on the SpatialML corpus (Mani et al. 08) indicate that event structures do indeed play an important role in understanding toponyms.


toponym disambiguation; spatial reasoning; location disambiguation

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