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The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is a distributed system of systems built on current international cooperation efforts among existing Earth observing and processing systems. The goal is to formulate an end-to-end process that enables the collection and distribution of accurate, reliable Earth Observation data, information, products, and services to both suppliers and consumers worldwide. Earth Observations (EO) are obtained from a multitude of sources and requires tremendous efforts and coordination among different agencies and user groups to come to a shared understanding on a set of concepts involved in a domain. Semantic metadata plays a crucial role in resolving the differences in meaning, interpretation, usage of the same or related data. Also the knowledge about the geopolitical background of the originating datasets could be encoded in the metadata that would address the diversity on a global scale. In distributed environments like GEOSS modularization is inevitable. In this paper we propose a framework for modular ontologies based knowledge management approach for GEOSS in which we explore approaches on formulating smaller interconnected ontologies. This analysis is exercised in a coastal zone domain.