Ontology Alignment Project

Open-source data model to standardize the standards.

The Ontology Alignment Project (OAP) is an open-source data model taxonomy and relationship specification to standardize variations between industry tagging and naming models in the built environment to support real-world deadlines of projects.

Born from the need to accommodate a steady stream of new devices and systems in the rapidly changing landscape of building technology, the Ontology Alignment Project (OAP) bridges the gap between naming and tagging standards in the building automation industry. The OAP is an easy-to-apply open-source data model that enables useful application of analytics, user interfaces, and fault detection and diagnostics.


Why do we need another standard?

With numerous options for data model standards in the building automation industry, one thing is clear: The standards are not the standard. The industry is faced with variations of naming and tagging data models that result in roadblocks to achieving the real-world application of building data.

For the built environment to flourish under the weight of a multitude of new innovations, ontologies must be aligned with a uniform data and relationship model that can easily and quickly evolve. The OAP seeks to address this real-world requirement by standardizing the myriad of discrepancies in naming and tagging of technology entities with a transparent and open-source solution.

What is the OAP?

The OAP is an open-source taxonomy developed to model the built environment. It uses unique codes based on Project Haystack to model building equipment, IoT devices, spaces, underlying points, and any future developments. 

The OAP is also a model for specifying relationship. These relationships define how entities within building systems relate to each other. By designating these relationships within the data model, system-based and root cause analysis can be applied efficiently.


The OAP supports and extends existing standards to make data models compatible with real-world integration projects.

Frequently asked questions.

What is the advantage of the OAP?

The OAP enables the programmatic application of analytics, user interfaces (UI), fault detection and diagnostics (FDD), and other use cases leveraging building data. The relationships between entities enable the utilization of data and powerful response to information across building systems.

The OAP is bringing together multiple naming and tagging standards allowing for automatic translation between them. This automated data translation layer eliminates the need to re-tag a building – streamlining building automation projects and enabling revolutionary use cases.

How do you incorporate/use the OAP?

The OAP is an open-source data model available to anyone who needs a unifying tagging and naming standard to integrate entities across the built environment. To begin using the OAP, first visit the OAP Gitlab page here to access the documentation. Once you've accessed the documentation, tag equipment, points, and other entities across your environment based on the OAP standards. For new builds, we recommend completing this during the integration stage to maximize your efficiency. For existing buildings, the data model can be applied to the building systems at any time.

It's easy to consume the data model because OAP is also an API. By leveraging GraphQL API, users can build applications that are interconnected with the OAP's data model. If you get stuck, or if this is beyond your expertise, talk with one of our smart building experts to discuss implementation options.

Who benefits from using the OAP and why?

There are several groups that benefit from using the OAP, from building system integrators to operational managers, to building owners. Having a standard allows for consistent delivery of building automation systems which can improve commissioning and troubleshooting. The OAP also enhances understanding of the type and purpose of data in the building systems. 

The data model is easily understood by building automation platforms without significant investment in custom solutions. This allows owners to leverage data across their systems for meaningful and cost-effective application of analytics, FDD, and reporting. The OAP's model for specifying relationships also provides the ability to extract meaningful insights into commissioning and maintenance activities to help promote productivity and improve results for building operators and service managers.

How do you deal with existing "standards", such as Project Haystack and the Brick Schema?

The members of the OAP working group are active participants in other industry forums and groups. Project Haystack is the primary basis for the tagging schema that is used in the OAP, and we feel the existing standards are a great starting point. While we expand on existing taxonomies to support real-world integration needs, we're helping to contribute anything new back to the industry.

To facilitate the use of multiple standards, we've built out automatic translation between other ontologies. Users of the OAP are then able to leverage the data modeling already completed at a site without having to conform to the specific variants of a model.

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