Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Hassan A. Babaie - Chair

Second Advisor

Seth Rose

Third Advisor

W. Crawford Elliott


Application of ontologies in the environmental science will allow experts in this field to model their domain knowledge for more efficient exchange and reuse. This thesis presents a modular approach in reengineering existing upper-level ontologies to conceptualize specific domain knowledge. The aim of extending these upper-level ontologies is to tailor and transform the existing conceptual models into new ones designed for the use in a specific domain in the earth sciences. This thesis extends the upper-level Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Terminology (SWEET)ontologies to develop ontologies for part of the hydrogeology domain. The existing SWEET ontologies are developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab for Earth system science ( In the new model, presented in this thesis, the architecture and orthogonal design of the SWEET ontologies is not disturbed but restructured at certain levels. New concepts are added to the old structure and the consistency is maintained for use by other domains. This thesis discusses the useful steps,necessary tools and other procedures involved in ontological reengineering of existing upper-level ontologies. The hydrogeology domain modeled in this thesis by means of reengineering, exemplifies the reusability methodology for the Earth system science knowledge base.