An ontology for specifying spatiotemporal scopes in life cycle assessment

Bo Yan, Yingjie Hu, Brandon Kuczenski, Krzysztof Janowicz, Andrea Ballatore, Adila Alfa Krisnadhi, Yiting Ju, Pascal Hitzler, Sangwon Suh, Wesley Ingwersen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental impact of a product through its entire life cycle, from material extraction to final disposal or recycling. The environmental impacts of an activity depend on both the activity's direct emissions to the environment as well as indirect emissions caused by activities elsewhere in the supply chain. Both the impacts of direct emissions and the provisioning of supply chain inputs to an activity depend on the activity's spatiotemporal scope. When accounting for spatiotemporal dynamics, LCA often faces significant data interoperability challenges. Ontologies and Semantic technologies can foster interoperability between diverse data sets from a variety of domains. Thus, this paper presents an ontology for modeling spatiotemporal scopes, i.e., the contexts in which impact estimates are valid.We discuss selected axioms and illustrate the use of the ontology by providing an example from LCA practice. The ontology enables practitioners to address key competency questions regarding the effect of spatiotemporal scopes on environmental impact estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event1st International Diversity++ Workshop, Diversity++ 2015 - co-located with the 14th International Semantic Web Conference, ISWC 2015 - Bethlehem, United States
Duration: 12 Oct 2015 → …


  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Ontology
  • Spatiotemporal scopes


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