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Journal of Geographical Sciences    2018, Vol. 28 Issue (12) : 1845-1859     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1567-9
Research Articles |
Spatial distribution and influencing factors of interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names in China
ZHANG Shengrui1,2,3(),WANG Yingjie1,2,3,*(),JU Hongrun4,LI Daichao1,2,3,FANG Lei1,2,3,QI Junhui1,2,3,WANG Yingying1,2,3,ZHANG Tongyan1,2,3
1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information Systems, Institute of Geographic and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
4. School of Tourism and Geography Science, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266071, Shandong, China
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The interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical entities are the key areas of regional integrated management. In this paper, we analyzed the spatial patterns of the interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names (ITPGN) from three aspects: numerical features, spatial variance and spatial agglomeration. The influencing factors of the distribution of ITPGN and the implications for the regional management were further discussed. GIS technology was used to visualize the distribution of ITPGN, analyze the spatial agglomeration and the influencing factors of ITPGN. A total of 11,325 ITPGN, including 4243 water ITPGN and 7082 terrain ITPGN, were extracted from the database of “China’s Second National Survey of Geographical Names (2014-2018)”, and the mountain geographical names were the largest type in ITPGN. Hunan Province had the largest number of the names in China, and Shanghai had the smallest number of the names. The spatial variance of the terrain ITPGN was larger than that of the water ITPGN, and the ITPGN showed a significant agglomeration phenomenon in the southern part of China. In addition, the relative elevation and the population had an impact on the distribution of the ITPGN. The largest number of the geographical names occurred in the regions where the relative elevation was between 1000-2000 meters, and where the population was between 40-50 million. Based on the analysis, it was suggested that the government should take the ITPGN as management units, optimize management strategies based on the characteristics of different types of ITPGN, strengthen the naming of unnamed interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical entities and balance the interests in the controversial ITPGN. This study demonstrated that GIS and spatial analysis techniques were useful for the research of ITPGN and the results could provide targeted management suggestions to realize coordinated development in the interprovincial regions.

Keywords interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names      spatial association      spatial variance      GIS      China     
Fund:Atlas of the People’s Republic of China (New Century Edition) Research, No.2013FY112800
Corresponding Authors: WANG Yingjie     E-mail:;
Issue Date: 27 December 2018
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ZHANG Shengrui
WANG Yingjie
JU Hongrun
LI Daichao
QI Junhui
WANG Yingying
ZHANG Tongyan
Cite this article:   
ZHANG Shengrui,WANG Yingjie,JU Hongrun, et al. Spatial distribution and influencing factors of interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names in China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(12): 1845-1859.
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Figure 1  The locations of four typical ITPGN in China
First-level types Second-level types Descriptions
River Flows on the surface
River head A birthplace of a river
River valley An elongated concave ground that the river flows, including gorges
Cove A curved section of a river
Estuary A place that rivers flow into the oceans, lakes and other rivers
Delta A landform in the surrounding of the estuary, formed by the deposition of the sediment in the river
Lake A closed and wide area with water flowing slowly, formed by water accumulation in the depression
Glacier A natural ice body with a certain shape and self-movement, including ice sheet
Waterfall A place where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of drops in the course of a stream or river
Drainage basin Catchment areas of rivers and runoff surrounded by watershed
Water system A system that is constituted by the rivers, lakes, swamps and others
Plain A flat open area including low land and depression
Basin An area where the surroundings is higher than the middle section
Plateau An area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain that is raised significantly above the surrounding area (topographic elevation > 500 m), with one or more sides with steep slopes
Hill A landform that extends above the surrounding terrain with at most 500 m of topographic elevation and at most 200 m of topographic prominence
Col (Pass) A saddle-shaped mouth between mountains
Mountain valley A linearly extending groove-shaped concave between hills or mountains
Mountain peak A summit of a mountain, includes a hilltop and a ridge
Mountain A steep highland with topographic elevation larger than 500 m and topographic prominence larger than 200 m, including volcano
Mountain range Regions with continuous mountain land, hills and relatively rugged plateau
Mountain land Areas with topographic elevation larger than 500 m and topographic prominence larger than 200 m, consisted with many mountains and valleys.
Mire The depression distributed in wet and shallow water areas, with marsh and wet plants growing and soil layer with peat accumulated or latent layer, including wetland
Steppe Areas dominated by temperate zone of herbaceous vegetation types of perennial, low temperature xerophytic, clustered grasses
Forest Ecosystems formed mainly with trees and their symbiotic plants, animals, microorganisms, soils, climate and so on, includes jungle
Desert An area with surface covered with a large area of sand dunes in arid and extreme arid areas, formed by the wind erosion, including sand areas
Gobi An area with surface covered by gravel and rock in arid areas
Platform Uplift flat surface with one or more sides with steep slopes, including loess tableland
Table 1  Classification system of ITPGN in China
Figure 2  The provincial administrative divisions and their abbreviations in China
Water ITPGN Number Terrain ITPGN Number
River 1971 Plain 36
River head 19 Basin 19
River valley 73 Plateau 18
Cove 14 Hill 134
Estuary 28 Col (Pass) 465
Delta 5 Mountain valley 174
Lake 89 Mountain peak 1684
Glacier 32 Mountain 4209
Waterfall 3 Mountain range 94
Drainage basin 1971 Mountain land 110
Water system 38 Mire 30
Steppe 21
Forest 43
Desert 19
Gobi 12
Platform 14
Table 2  The number of ITPGN in China
Figure 3  The spatial characteristics of the number of ITPGN and the density of ITPGN in China
Figure 4  The number of water and terrain ITPGN in different provinces of China (sorted in descending order of the total number of ITPGN)
Indicator ITPGN Water ITPGN Terrain ITPGN
CV 63.46% 49.99% 87.49%
Moran's I 0.3739* -0.0011 0.5235*
Table 3  CV and Moran’s I of ITPGN
Figure 5  Local indicators of spatial association (LISA) map of ITPGN and terrain ITPGN in China
Figure 6  The relationship between ITPGN and terrain
Figure 7  The relationship between ITPGN and population
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