Parsing Natural Language Queries for Extracting Data from Large-Scale Geospatial Transportation Asset Repositories
Jeong, H. David
Recent advances in data and information technologies have enabled extensive digital datasets to be available to decision makers throughout the life cycle of a transportation project. However, most of these data are not yet fully reused due to the challenging and time-consuming process of extracting the desired data for a specific purpose. Digital datasets are presented only in computer-readable formats and they are mostly complicated. Extracting data from complex and large data sources is significantly time-consuming and requires considerable expertise. Thus, there is a need for a user-friendly data exploration framework that allows users to present their data interests in human language. To fulfill that demand, this study employs natural language processing (NLP) techniques to develop a natural language interface (NLI) which can understand users’ intent and automatically convert their inputs in the human language into formal queries. This paper presents the results of an important task of the development of such a NLI that is to establish a method for classifying the tokens of an ad-hoc query in accordance with their semantic contribution to the corresponding formal query. The method was validated on a small test set of 30 plain English questions manually annotated by an expert. The result shows an impressive accuracy of over 95%. The token classification presented in this paper is expected to provide a fundamental means for developing an effective NLI to transportation asset databases.
This is a manuscript of a proceeding published as Le, Tuyen, H. David Jeong, Stephen B. Gilbert, and Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen. "Parsing Natural Language Queries for Extracting Data from Large-Scale Geospatial Transportation Asset Repositories." In Construction Research Congress 2018: Building Community Partnerships. (2018): 70-79. DOI: 10.1061/9780784481295.008. Posted with permission.