What is semantic modelling?

Semantic models describe the objects, data, and relationships in a domain. They allow programs to communicate in an open, extensible and powerful way, better leveraging the growing number of interconnected devices and online resources.

Video - semantics in 6o seconds

Semantics and the water sector

Smart water networks promise efficiency and resilience through ICT, but are facing interoperability challenges similar to those in smart grids. Machines need to use common data formats and shared message meaning to communicate effectively. Data and semantic modelling standards are critical for the continued growth of smart water networks.

Video - why water semantics?

The journey so far

The value of explicitly stating semantics in the water domain has been recognised for some time. Several efforts have made progress towards increasingly expressive models, laying solid foundations for full semantic interoperability in the near future.

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Latest developments

In the past 5 years, much progress has been made, including the development of a water value chain ontology in the WISDOM project, and an ontology of water devices in the SWIM model.

The WISDOM project built an Internet of Things platform and a set of web services for the water sector, underpinned by a comprehensive semantic model of the water value chain. The WISDOM ontology and accompanying document can be found here. The WISDOM project is funded through the EC FP7 program: more details here.

The Semantic Water Information Model (SWIM) ontology describes the objects, relationships, and properties relevant to the devices and assets in the water sector. It has been developed from 30+ years of experience with a water utility to tackle the interoperability challenge. The SWIM ontology is part funded through the Hypercat project by Innovate UK.


Lead Partners

Cardiff University's BRE Institute of Sustainable Engineering has deep experience of semantics in the built environment. Following the formation of the Cardiff University Water Research Institute, Cardiff University is applying this experience to address the need for semantic modelling of the water sector.

Aquamatix is a leading IoT technology company in the water vertical, offering best in class software and hardware solutions and services for the water sector. Built on 30 years of direct experience, Aquamatix is tackling the challenge of semantic interoperability.

Research Projects

WISDOM Project Partners

Water Utilities

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water supplies water, sewerage and trade effluent services to homes, offices and businesses in Wales and parts of England. Welsh Water is the sixth largest of the ten regulated water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.

Technology Partners

Intel Corporation is the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer, producing computer, networking and Communications products with annual revenues exceeding $50bn.

Government Bodies

Cardiff Council is a Welsh Unitary Authority with a population of around 330,000 people covering the city area of Cardiff in Wales. Cardiff has an annual budget in excess of £1bn and employs 17,000 staff. Cardiff has a strong track record in managing and delivering large infrastructure projects, for example the world-famous Cardiff Bay Development.

Academic Organisations

Imperial College London is a public research university specialising in science, engineering, medicine and business. It has around 13,500 full-time students and 3,330 academic and research staff. It is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, ranking 2nd in the 2014/15 QS World University Rankings.

Funding Bodies

The path ahead

SemanticWater.com aims to foster the development and adoption of these semantic models by building on existing work, engaging closely with stakeholders, and leveraging technologies such as the Internet of Things and the Semantic Web.

This section will soon be updated with formal recommendations for the development and standardisation of semantic models in the water sector.