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Theoretical basis and technical methods of cyberspace geography

Abstract

Cyberspace is a new spatial realm of activities involving both humans and data, and it has become a cornerstone of the national security of every country. A scientific understanding of cyberspace is essential for analyzing cyberspace incidents, governing cyberspace and ensuring cybersecurity. Accordingly, cyberspace has become a new field of geographic research in the Information Age. Against the backdrop of fierce international competition over cyberspace, there has been an urgent need to strengthen research between the fields of geography and cybersecurity, leading to theoretical and methodological innovations that have created the sub-discipline of cyberspace geography. Cyberspace geography (CG) extends geographical research from real spaces to virtual spaces, and its theoretical basis is the evolution of the traditional geographic human-land relationship theory into a human-land-network relationship theory. CG research includes constructing mapping rela-tionships between cyberspace and real space, redefining the traditional geographic concepts of distance and regions for cyberspace, creating a language, models and methodologies for visually representing cyberspace, drawing maps of cyberspace, and researching the principles governing the evolution of cyberspace structures and behaviors. The technical methods of CG include collecting and integrating data on elements of cyberspace, visually representing cyberspace and conducting cyberspace situational and behavioral intelligence awareness. Intelligence awareness covers cyberspace situational status assessments, network hotspot event dissemination and traceability analysis, and network event situational simulations and risk predictions. CG offers new perspectives on the scientific understanding of cyberspace, the development of disciplines such as geography and cybersecurity, and the creation of national cybersecurity prevention and control mechanisms as well as a community of common future in cyberspace.

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Acknowledgements

During the writing process, we held four cyberspace geography seminars, and we would like to thank Wang Yingei, Xu Yunfeng, Zhu Guobang, Fan Chunling, Lu Lei, Hu Guangjun, Sun Degang, Wu Yu, Xu Fanjiang, Wang Zhiwei, Jing Tao, Cheng Jian, He Shujin, Li Jiaxin and Gao Qing for their comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Qiquan Guo.

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Gao, C., Guo, Q., Jiang, D. et al. Theoretical basis and technical methods of cyberspace geography. J. Geogr. Sci. 29, 1949–1964 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-019-1698-7

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Keywords

  • human-land-network relationship
  • cyberspace map
  • cyberspace
  • geographical space
  • visual representation