United Nations


Controlled vocabularies, taxonomies and thesauri have been in use in a wide variety of organizations for decades. With the information explosion fueled by the internet, the importance of these organization structures has become more and more apparent. The problem isn’t where to find vocabularies or how to build them; on the contrary, enterprises typically find that they have several mini-vocabularies, each tuned to a special purpose or business need, just as so-called “folksonomies” have appeared in popular websites.


World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee declared the Semantic Web ‘open for business’ in 2008, celebrating the ratification of the SPARQL query specification by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); the organisation of which he is Director. “I think we’ve got all the pieces to be able to go ahead and do pretty much everything,” he stated in an interview.

Executive Summary

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched an ontology and associated services to manage, exchange and integrate geopolitical information at corporate level and with international partners. The geopolitical ontology is showcased in the FAO Country Profiles and Mapping Information System (FCPMIS) www.fao.org/countryprofiles, where it is used to enhance the system functionality and to integrate geopolitical information, such as, statistics, maps, feeds or documents.