The Semantic Web3D: towards comprehensive representation of 3D content on the semantic web



The semantic web is one of the most significant trends in the development of the web. It transforms the current web into a network linking structured content with formal and expressive descriptions of its meaning. A number of approaches leverage semantic web standards and tools to improve creation, representation and processing of various types of media, including text, images, audio and video. However, 3D content, which is an essential element of virtual and augmented reality environments, still lacks standardized comprehensive semantic representations as well as methods and tools of semantic creation and processing. This remains the main obstacle for integration and wide dissemination of virtual and augmented reality on the semantic web.

This presentation is devoted to the works of the X3D Semantic Web Working Group [1], which is a part of the Web3D Consortium. The goal of the group is to develop standardized comprehensive solutions integrating the current semantic web with interactive 3D contents towards building the Semantic Web3D. In particular, the group focuses on the development of semantic representations as well as methods and tools of semantic creation and processing of 3D content for web-based VR/AR environments. The intention of the group is to build upon achievements of the Web3D Consortium to date, including the results of other working groups, such as X3D, humanoid animation, medical as well as design printing and scanning.

So far, we have elaborated the concept of the Semantic Web3D content representation at different levels of abstraction, covering 3D- and domain-specific objects and properties. The representation is an extension of previous works published at the Web3D conference [2][3] and the 3D Ontology [4]. It permits querying, reasoning and processing of semantic 3D content with regards to its inherent geometrical, structural, presentational and animation properties along with properties related to an arbitrary domain in which the content is used, e.g., cultural heritage, medicine, design, engineering or e-commerce. The foundation of the representation is the X3D Ontology [5]. It is automatically generated from the X3D Unified Object Model, which makes it strictly connected to the Extensible 3D – a prominent standardized 3D format (ISO/IEC 19775) for web-based applications, which is the successor to VRML. We also explain how the current approach could be extended with additional 3D ontologies derived from other 3D formats. We plan to use the DFDL language to develop converters of 3D formats to 3D ontologies, and 3D models and scenes encoded in the formats – to knowledge bases compliant with the ontologies.

*[1] Web3D Consortium, X3D Semantic Web Working Group Charter,

*[2] Walczak, K., and J. Flotyński, Semantic query-based generation of customized 3D scenes, in: Proceeding Web3D '15 Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on 3D Web Technology, Heraklion (Greece), June 18 - 21, 2015 , ACM New York, 2015, pp. 123-131, ISBN 978-1-4503-3647-5, DOI 10.1145/2775292.2775311.

*[3] Sikos, Leslie F., "3D model indexing in videos for content-based retrieval via X3D-based semantic enrichment and automated reasoning.", Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology. ACM, 2017.

*[4] Sikos, Leslie F., 3D Ontology,

*[5] Web3D Consortium, X3D Ontology,

*[6] Visualizing the Semantic Web: XML-based Internet and Information Visualization,


Don Brutzman, John Carlson, Jakub Flotyński, Felix Hamza-Lup, Athanasios Malamos, Christophe Mouton, Marc Petit, Nicholas Polys, Leslie Sikos, Krzysztof Walczak