Semantics constitutes the highest level on the communication ladder and its mutual understanding makes it possible that information systems can communicate with people and among each other. Two opposing approaches to explaining the meaning of terms exist: a realist and a cognitive one. Many efforts for solving the so-called problem of semantic interoperability in the area of Information Science are based on realist semantics, which claims that meaning is in the world. In this paper we argue for a cognitive approach to semantic interoperability, which is based on the assumption that meanings are in the heads of people. This allows us to account for the fact that different people have different conceptualizations of the world and therefore require different presentations of answers to their spatio-temporal questions. The paper presents a formal approach for representing the idea of conceptual spaces. Mappings between such spaces support cognitive semantic interoperability. A case study from the geospatial domain-wayfinding services with landmarks-demonstrates the usefulness and plausibility of the approach.
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