The South China Sea region is an important prospective energy supply area and a resource base for China. Although coral reef resources are extremely abundant in the South China Sea, research on coral reef data extraction, and analysis and evaluation of coral reef resources have not attracted enough attention. This article put forward an analytical framework based on the application of geographic information technologies in the South China Sea, and reviewed the main progresses in three aspects: current availability of basic geographic data, methods on the extraction of basic geographic information, and evaluation of coral reefs in the Siuth China Sea. Based on the review and analysis, this article proposed three research directions in the future: (1) promote multi-source remote sensing data acquisition, build massive remote sensing databases; (2) strengthen collaborative technological innovation, improve the accuracy and reliability of information extraction and monitoring results; and (3) promote intelligent remote sensing analysis, establish comprehensive analysis and decision-support systems which will provide theoretical reference for the further development of coral reef research in the South China Sea.
China-Africa cooperation is becoming an unavoidable international political and economic event, creating a large number of research topics. This study adopted the method of Endnote analysis to examine the relevant literature from four well-known international and Chinese academic publication databases. Based on a fuzzy keyword search with the key words of China-Africa cooperation, Sino-Africa cooperation, China-Africa collaboration, and Sino-Africa collaboration in Web of Science, Taylor & Francis, and Elsevier and zhongfei hezuo in CNKI, this study collected 241 and 382 publications from the international and Chinese databases, respectively. The two main conclusions are as follows: (1) Both international and Chinese scholars have paid much attention to the political and economic aspects of China-Africa cooperation, situating this theme into the framework of political science and economy for discussion, while the research perspective from other subjects seem to have been underexamined; (2) Although a small number of scholars have explored China-Africa cooperation from the perspective of geography and spatial analysis, such kind of studies seem to have seldom departed from the analytical framework of political science and economics. Human geography studies are also small in number and unsystematic. In this regard, this article proposes potential future research directions to discuss this topic, in particular from the lens of political geography, tourism geography, and social and cultural geography, which may gradually become hotspot topics in the near future. This article advocates for increased human geographer participation in the research of China-Africa cooperation thereby contributing to the study and practice of this cooperation. It also encourages human geographers in China to respond to China's growing intellectual responsibility as a great power "going out."
The Indian Ocean Passages (IOPs) have been regarded as the lifeline for China's energy and resources access, trade, as well as communication and cooperation with South and West Asian, African, and European countries. With the reshuffle of geopolitical power of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region and the shift of China's geopolitical position with its neighbors, China is in great need of reducing its dependence on the traditional IOPs through the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait and exploring alternative IOPs to leverage its geopolitical risks in these regions, improve domestic economic development pattern, push for further opening-up and development in the border areas in Southwest China provinces, and promote cooperations with Indian Ocean countries. This study offered a preliminary definition and analyzed the characteristics of a passage, summarized current and potential passages in the Indian Ocean, analyzed the strategic value, future prospect, and geopolitical impacts of potential passages for China, and provided novel perspectives and insights for the building of China's Indian Ocean strategy as well as the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Coastal ports are the intersections between the Belt and Road sea and land routes and the shipping network is the carrier for the ports' integration into the Maritime Silk Road, therefore their spatial connection and integration level are important indicators of the overall competitiveness of the ports. Using a complex network model to quantitatively depict and analyze the shipping network connection in 2005 and 2015, this article discusses the spatial and regional differences of container ports of China in the past 10 years. The results show that: (1) The container port shipping network of China had a bigger clustering coefficient and a smaller average path length and the whole network follows the small-world model. Differences between network accessibility and transfer function of the ports are relatively smaller, and regional hub ports are more stable. (2) Based on the strongest connection of shipping network from social network analysis (UCINET), from a national perspective three relatively independent regional networks have evolved into an integrative hub-spoke spatial network. From a regional perspective, although a few ports have the strongest connection with non-local hub ports, four regional ports still form relatively complete networks. (3) From the perspective of regional differences, the vertex strength of the connections among the four regional ports has increased, the network accessibility and transfer function of ports in Taiwan have improved, and their strongest connection area changed from the Pearl River Delta to the Yangtze River Delta. It also forms a regional network with Kaohsiung Port as a regional hub. The vertex strength between all ports in Taiwan and ports in China's mainland has increased by 79.46%. The vertex strength between the Hong Kong Port and all ports in China's mainland has decreased by 22.99%. The Hong Kong Port has declined from the national hub port to the Pearl River Delta regional hub port.
In May 2017, The Belt and Road Initiative First International Cooperation Forum, which once again highlighted China's efforts and contributions in the construction of the "community of human destiny," was held in Beijing. We have drawn up the strategic conception of building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, thus paving the maritime passage of elements flow in Eastern and Western countries, and expanding the new trade route for China to connect the world economy. Based on the relationship of shipping between the Chinese and international ports and social network analysis (SNA), this study mapped the connection network of Chinese and international ports along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The study also used the SNA method to analyze the overall network spatial structure and its core-periphery structure. We considered the network centrality and the actual shipping capability of the Chinese and international port nodes, thus identifying the functional nodes in the shipping network. The main conclusions are as follows. (1) The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road shipping network presents a spatial pattern of the pickaxe shape, and the close connection between the Chinese and Southeast Asian ports is the core of this pattern. Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, and Port Klang constitute the hub and spoke network structure of the port of high efficiency and low consumption. (2) We derived the backbone network and core network through filtering, and identified special nodes and core nodes of international ports with different breadth and intensity. (3) There are two ways for ports to enter the shipping network. One is the hierarchical embedding mode (breadth, depth, intermediary function), such as China and Southeast Asia, and the other is homogeneous embedding mode, such as Africa, south West Asia-Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. (4) We identified five types of Chinese port nodes: potential composite hub port, export-oriented trunk port, inward direct port, intermediary branch port, and marginal feeder port. Then, the development proposals for these five types of ports are put forward, in order to effectively coordinate the port organization pattern and node functions so that ports can complement each other and enhance the value of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
This article employs the OAG (Official Airline Guide) flight schedule data of 2016 to analyze the spatial pattern and classification of multi-airport regions. The results indicate that: besides European countries and the United States, China, Japan, Thailand, and Brazil occupies important positions in the construction of multi-airport regions in the world. Multi-airport regions in Southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and West Asia are polarized and lack of secondary airports. The layout of airports in the multi-airport regions of the UK and the United States are more compacted, and people can spend 0.5~1 hour less when driving from the British other primary or secondary airports to the core airport compared with China. Multi-airport regions can be divided into nine categories according to available seats and the Herfindahl-Hirschman indexes (HHI), corresponding to different evolution stages of multi-airport regions. Globally, 22 multi-airport regions have developed into a relatively mature stage. In the future, under the premise of ensuring the overall development of multi-airport regions, China should pay attention to the transformation process of other important airports to secondary airports, improve the ground traffic level in the regions to reduce the access time between airports, and guide a high level competition between airports.
Coral reef geomorphic classification scheme plays an important role in coral reef geomorphic mapping based on remote sensing images. At present, there are various problems in the coral reef geomorphic classification schemes for remote sensing, such as inconsistent construction standards, unreasonable levels of some important geomorphic types, and incomplete geomorphic type coverage, which limit the application of geomorphic mapping for coral reef science and management. This articel advocates a systematic and hierarchical geomorphic classification scheme for reefs in the South China Sea for remote sensing, which concludes three levels and 19 classes from the sea to the lagoon or island. It is constructed based on high-resolution satellite images (WorldView-2, Quickbird) of 46 reefs (atolls, table reefs) and field survey data of 15 reefs in the Xisha Islands. Geomorphic types are derived and described according to the criteria of reef location, hydrodynamic characteristics, exposure degree and sediments. Geomorphic types are placed at the same level when they possess similar scale and importance. Cay and island are placed in the first level to show their importance. The scheme has consistent standardization, the highest hierarchical structure, and the largest number of geomorphic types. In the scheme, biotic sparse zone of the inner reef flat, biotic dense zone of the inner reef flat are named; submerged reef ridge, intertidal sand zone, and shallow reef pond are supplemented. The classification scheme facilitates the intuitive understanding and inference of the processes and importance of marine ecological interaction across different scales. This hierarchical geomorphic classification scheme with multi-scale characteristic is applicable to the coral reef geomorphic mapping from low-resolution to high-resolution satellite images, contributing to the change analysis, management, and protection of China’s coral reefs in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea and its coastal zone are one of the most active and high potential areas for economic development in the Asia-Pacific region. Affected by global changes and human activities, the resources and environment in the South China Sea region were changing drastically, imposing new pressures on the society, economy, ecology and environment. This article reviewed related geographical research of coast zone, marine and coral reef resources from the perspective of geospatial information. It examined various current works of remote sensing monitoring on the shoreline, the geographical difference analysis of oil- gas reserves and fishery catch, and remote sensing monitoring on coral reef landform and coral bleaching. this article also discussed the existing research results and shortcomings and analyzed the possible focus of future research based on development trends. The results show that the geospatial research on resources and environment of the South China Sea had made many achievements in the large scale rapid monitoring and geographical differentiation of resources so far. Meanwhile, research on the internal mechanism of resource distribution, as well as the environmental impact of resource development, is insufficient. Studies that can be expected to achieve breakthroughs in the future include: multi-scale analysis of spatiotemporal feature of the region and their effects, differentiation and pattern analysis of inter-regional natural and social development, improvement of dynamic monitoring accuracy and timeliness of the South China Sea resources based on the integration multiple-source data, and the comprehensive effects of marine ecology and environment in the process of resource change.