Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (12): 1845-1859.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1567-9

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution and influencing factors of interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names in China

Shengrui ZHANG1,2,3(), Yingjie WANG1,2,3,*(), Hongrun JU4, Daichao LI1,2,3, Lei FANG1,2,3, Junhui QI1,2,3, Yingying WANG1,2,3, Tongyan ZHANG1,2,3   

  1. 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
  • Received:2017-05-31 Accepted:2017-10-16 Online:2018-12-20 Published:2018-12-27
  • Contact: Yingjie WANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Zhang Shengrui (1990-), PhD Candidate, specialized in GIS and geo-visualization. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Atlas of the People’s Republic of China (New Century Edition) Research, No.2013FY112800


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.

Key words: interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names, spatial association, spatial variance, GIS, China