Problem statement:

How to consistently model "expeditions" of exploration. And, consequently, how to model the people, the vessel, the purposes, and especially the locations of the exploration.


Various forms of explorations - from 'first ascent' of mountains, to 'discovery' of continents, to space-missions... should all be able to be structured in a similar manner.


Things needing modelling:

  1. The instance of (P31)
    1. should it always be research expedition (Q366301)?? Some have zero research goal
  2. The purposes: has goal (P3712)
    1. Geographic: sometimes this is a *specific* geographic point, sometimes it is a geographic *route*, sometimes it is general exploration of an area. How to state that the goal is to "find" or "reach" xyz, rather than the goal being xyz itself??
    2. Scientific: sometimes there are one, or many *specific* scientific objectives. How to state that the goal is to "measure" or "discover" xyz, rather than the goal being xyz itself??
  3. The participants
    1. Use of participant (P710) seems clear enough - and avoids the lack of clarity that member of the crew of (P5096) or affiliation (P1416) could introduce.
    2. Qualifiers for their job within the expedition, using subject has role (P2868)?
  4. The locations. Various options are used... Some have:
    1. A series of location (P276) properties with timestamp qualifiers, others use via (P2825).
    2. start point (P1427) + terminus (P559)
    3. coordinate location (P625)
    4. destination point (P1444)
  5. The vessel.
    1. especially in cases when the vessel is "single purpose" there is often no distinction between the item about the vessel (object), and the item about the voyage (event) and/or the achievement (objective). For example, The "mars science laboratory" (description "space probe mission" but only instance of -> space probe) is listed as having has part -> the rover Curiosity (Q48485). Nothing about they voyage. Equally, all the "manned descents of challenger deep" (WP link) have items about the submarines, but not the event.

Need for an ontology of expeditions

Having a robust list of subclasses of expeditions is, in my opinion, the first big step to model expeditions correctly. The current subclasses of 'expedition' are clearly not modeled/controlled at all. Looking at lists on wikipedia of different kinds of expeditions could give a first indication as to how we start this ontology. CalvinBall (talk) 13:31, 25 October 2018 (UTC)

Okay, some thoughts as promised, a little delayed...

First off, I think we should set spaceflights aside for the moment. They're a distinct thing, there's a model for them already, and it will probably be best to work out a model for terrestrial expeditions and then tweak the two to work together. At the moment, most spaceflights don't really model the conventional "expedition" aspects anyway; eg Apollo 11 (Q43653) says it's a moon landing, but doesn't really talk about anything once they got there.

1 - instance of (P31)
2 - objective

has goal (P3712) seems reasonable, and things like "circumnavigation" or "first ascent" fit well here. I've mocked up something at British Trans-Greenland Expedition (Q57756688) to show a possible use of this for both "physical" and "activity" objectives.

We might also want some kind of qualifier to say succeeded/failed, or to express a more nuanced outcome - eg Amundsen in 1912 clearly succeeded "more" than Scott did, but they both reached their objective; the 1907-9 expedition didn't succeed at reaching the Pole but it did succeed at setting a new Furthest South record.

3 - participants

I think this is definitely the best approach; I did some work to standardise on this last year, though I don't think there's been much activity since.

4 - locations

At the risk of adding more complication here, I don't think any of these are a great universal solution. "Location"/"coordinate" is handy to express that an expedition was at a certain place on a certain day, but it's not great for an expedition that moves around, especially if it doesn't just go between named places. Start and destination point, likewise - good for some types of expedition but not others.

I would suggest using operating area (P2541) for the geographical region of activity, where appropriate (eg probably not for a circumnavigation, but relevant for almost anything else), and things like location etc as optional extras.

5 - vessel

Leaving aside the spaceflight situation, I think for most "terrestrial" expeditions there's a natural divide between the vessel and the expedition (though obviously we want to crosslink between them). In many cases Wikipedia currently combines the two, but that's no big deal - we can still split out items and tie whichever is most appropriate to the WP article.

Wittylama, thoughts? Andrew Gray (talk) 22:04, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

in short: I agree with all of Andrew's points above. I have a small addition to the discussions on locations. Using operating area (P2541) is a good simple way of covering the location of most expeditions. It would be nice, though, to be able to create maps of undertaken voyages using SPARQL. Using coordinate locations at a certain point in time allows for those kinds of maps. Using coordinate locations instead of 'Location' would also eliminate the constraint of only being able to use named locations. I'd see this as detailed info that shouldn't be added to every expedition, but is nice to have for some expeditions, if people are interested in entering that kind of data. Cfr Second Zambesi Expedition (Q7443666) for my shot at starting to adequately describe an expedition keeping the above in mind. CalvinBall (talk) 13:41, 31 October 2018 (UTC)