This thread appears to have progressed to the point where you have a good answer, but I wanted to highlight one other potentially useful resource for like needs. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) manages data for agricultural issues that don't map neatly to geopolitical boundaries. If there is a "famine in the Sahel", e.g., it may touch on a dozen countries, or be limited to specific regions in those countries.
They maintain a geopolitical ontology to assist these types of mappings: http://www.fao.org/countryprofiles/geoinfo.asp
I suspect it doesn't go into ancient history, but a few of the examples they cite include recent shifts in geography (such as USSR dissolution, East + West Germany = Germany).
On Apr 8, 2012, at 7:43 AM, Ethan Gruber wrote:
> Thanks for the info, but it's not quite what I'm looking for. We've
> established authority control for ancient places, but I'm looking for an
> ontology I can use to describe the child:parent relationship between city
> and region or region and larger region (in any way that isn't
> dcterms:partOf). Geonames has defined their own vocabulary that can't
> really be reused in other geographic contexts, e.g. with gn:countryCode,
> On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:40 AM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Also, there is Geonames (http://www.geonames.org), which is the primary
>> geographic data set on the Semantic Web. Here is the link to Athens:
>> On 4/6/12 4:54 PM, Karen Miller wrote:
>>> Ethan, have you considered Getty's Thesaurus of Geographic Names? It
>>> does provide a geographic hierarchy, although the data for Athens they
>>> provide isn't quite the one you've described:
>>> This vocabulary is available in XML here:
>>> I have looked at it but not used it; it's a big tangled mess of XML.
>>> MODS mimics a hierarchy (the subject/hierarchicalGeographic element has
>>> these children: continent, country, province, region, state, territory,
>>> county, city, island, area, extraterrestrialArea, citySection). The VRA
>>> Core location element provides a similar mapping.
>>> I try to stay away from Dublin Core, but I did venture onto the DC Terms
>>> page just now and saw TGN listed in the vocabulary encoding schemes there,
>>> so probably someone has implemented it.
>>> Karen D. Miller
>>> Monographic/Digital Projects Cataloger
>>> Bibliographic Services Dept.
>>> Northwestern University Library
>>> Evanston, IL
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]**EDU<[log in to unmask]>]
>>> On Behalf Of Ethan Gruber
>>> Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2012 12:49 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: [CODE4LIB] Representing geographic hiearchy in linked data
>>> Hi all,
>>> I have a dilemma that needs to be sorted out. I'm looking for an
>>> ontology that can describe geographic hierarchy, and hopefully someone on
>>> the list has experience with this. For example, if I have an RDF record
>>> that describes Athens, I want to point Athens to Attica, and Attica to
>>> Greece, and so on. The current proposal is to use dcterms:partOf, but the
>>> problem with this is that our records will also use dcterms:partOf to
>>> describe a completely different type of relational concept, and it will be
>>> almost impossible for scripts to recognize the difference between these two
>>> uses of the same DC term.
>> Karen Coyle
>> [log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net
>> ph: 1-510-540-7596
>> m: 1-510-435-8234
>> skype: kcoylenet