SOSA: A Lightweight Ontology for Sensors, Observations, Samples, and Actuators

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Janowicz, Krzysztof; Haller, Armin; Cox, Simon ORCID ID icon; Le Phuoc, Danh; Lefrançois, Maxime


Journal Article

Journal of Web Semantics



The Sensor, Observation, Sample, and Actuator (SOSA) ontology provides a formal but lightweight general-purpose specification for modeling the interaction between the entities involved in the acts of observation, actuation, and sampling. SOSA is the result of rethinking the W3C-XG Semantic Sensor Network (SSN) ontology based on changes in scope and target audience, technical developments, and lessons learned over the past years. SOSA also acts as a replacement of SSN’s Stimulus Sensor Observation (SSO) core. It has been developed by the first joint working group of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the World Wide WebConsortium(W3C)onSpatialDataontheWeb. Inthiswork,wemotivatetheneedforSOSA,provideanoverviewofthemain classes and properties, and discuss its integration with the new release of the SSN ontology as well as various other alignments to specificationssuchasOGC’sObservationsandMeasurements(OM),Dolce-Ultralite(DUL),andotherprominentontologies. We will also touch upon common modeling problems and application areas related to publishing and searching observation, sampling, and actuation data on the Web. The SOSA ontology and standard can be accessed at


Ontology, Sensor, Observation, Actuator, Linked Data, Web of Things, Internet of Things,

Information Engineering and Theory; Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified; Web Technologies (excl. Web Search)

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Journal article - Refereed


Janowicz, Krzysztof; Haller, Armin; Cox, Simon; Le Phuoc, Danh; Lefrançois, Maxime. SOSA: A Lightweight Ontology for Sensors, Observations, Samples, and Actuators. Journal of Web Semantics. 2019; 56:1-10.

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