Manage geographical places with 'kinds'

Release note from 14-06-2023

With this release, the concept of 'kinds' has been introduced for geographical places.

In brief:

It is now kinds (also known as "identifying types), managed by the Geovistory team, that are used to specify the identity of Geographical Places, instead of project specific types. When creating new places, it is necessary to choose from a fixed list of kinds (such as settlement, address or legal territory).

Geographical Place Types already created have been mapped to Geographical Place Kinds.

In order to allow users to continue classifying places according to their own terminology (with terms such as village, city etc.), the Classification class has been added.

See the example below:

For more details:

Until de 14th of June 2023, even if it was recommended to use controlled vocabularies for the various types in your database, users had the possibility and flexibility to employ any vocabulary term to specify the types of geographical place you document (city, neighborhood, country, lake, etc.). Those types, that are identifying the nature of the instances of places that have been created, can only be one per entity and cannot be changed (i.e. a city cannot become a lake; if such a thing happens (the flooding of a region), then a new entity typed lake should be created, instead of replacing the type of the entity).

However, such flexibility allows for the creation of many different types, often synonyms, thus leading to the creation of multiple entities that should instead be documented as one, either because of using different vocabularies ("City" vs "Town"), or by using type to describe a classification and not the nature of that place (i.e. a "Village" is a classification of a settlement).

In order to solve this issue, the concept of Kind has been introduced.

Kinds are a specification of identifying types, but they are managed by the Geovistory team. Therefore, starting from the 14th of June 2023, any new geographical place created needs to be attributed with a Kind that has to be chosen in a fixed list:

  • Region

  • Settlement

  • Legal Territory

  • Natural Element

  • Address

  • Infrastructure surface area

  • Section

However, it is still important that each project member can use their favorite vocabulary to further classify those geographical entities. This is where the Classification class can be used. It has further benefits:

  • Multiple classifications can be used to describe complex situations or different viewpoints (for example, a Geographical Place with the kind "Settlement" can be classified as a "City", a "Capital" and a "Religious center").

  • Dates can be associated with classifications to document the evolution of those geographical places (for example, a Geographical Place with the kind "Settlement" can be classified as a "Village" from 1054 to 1120, a "fortress" from 1120 to 1452 and as a "Capital" from 1452 onwards).

  • Those classifications can be modified, deleted or new ones added. This does not change the identity of the Geographical Place, but its classification.

Those changes have been applied to already created entities. We have mapped the various vocabulary terms that you have added to the new kinds and added those terms as Classifications.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need guidance in using those new kinds.

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