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OntoPop(.com) - open source Ontology Visualisation tool

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Ian Gordon
Posted (edited)

We all know that Ontologies have a massive role to play in the realisation of the Information Management Framework and the wider National Digital Twin Programme.

But damn(!), they can be hard to work with. Create an Ontology of any scale and the existing academic tools such as Protégé become pretty unmanageable pretty quickly.

And that's before you try to explain your ontology to any sort of Normal Human. Even the most curated Ontology can be flabbergasting to the majority of people.

If we are going to use Ontologies to define the logic behind Digital Twins, and crucially if we expect to be able to explain that logic to Normal Humans, then we need a better way of visualising, filtering, and editing our Ontologies. 

That's where OntoPop comes in. It's intended as a free-to-use, open source, non-proprietary Ontology visualisation tool. Highways England have funded the OntoPop MVP using innovation funding. Our hope is that we can expand its use across the other infrastructure owners and suppliers involved in the National Digital Twin programme, and use it to co-develop and own functionality that ultimately we are all going to need at some point.

The MVP of OntoPop is now available to play with on the link below. Please visit https://ontopop.com/ and tell us what you think, all feedback is appreciated. We're particularly interested in if you would like to work on this project with us.



Edited by Ian Gordon
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  • Ian Gordon changed the title to OntoPop(.com) - open source Ontology Visualisation tool
  • 2 weeks later...
Graham Meaden

Ian, the problem with so many tools is that they forget that it is the audience needs that should drive the content and what and how it is presented. I believe we need to separate the building of models from the consumption of models.

I would observe that in too many cases software products present data in graphs "because they can" rather than because it helps the consumer make a decision or gain understanding.  Many software products presenting graphs fail to deliver value because the data presented is unworkable, unusable, overwhelming or all of the above.  In varying degrees tools can present:

  • too many nodes

  • too many links

  • too unpredictable

  • too general a set of nodes

  • too general a set of links

  • not enough information about nodes or links when inspected

  • too much information about nodes or links when inspected

  • nodes that cannot be navigated from

This problem is summed up in the phrase "you can't see the wood for the trees".  To take the example above and in the Ontopop video, what is the tool for: building model, exploring a model or supporting a repeatable process? The challenge in my mind is how do we practically bound a graph query and deliver the right information to the user first time on a repeatable basis?

We should leverage the ISO42010 approach and ensure we focus on Stakeholders, Concerns and separate Viewpoints and Views from the underlying Model. 


Edited by Graham Meaden
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