Mapping Potential Wilderness in China with Location-based Services Data

  • Shuang Ma
  • Ying LongEmail author


Wilderness mapping can provide valuable information for natural resource management. In this article, a novel, straightforward approach has been developed to identify wilderness areas in China using emerging new data. Tencent LBS (location based service) data that reflect human activities are used as a basis for mapping wilderness characteristics for the whole of China while admitting non-human-activity zones as “observed” wilderness, rather than “estimated/inferred” wilderness using spatial factors based on conventional wilderness mapping approaches using GIS. The mapping results using new data are compared and integrated with the results from the MCE approach. The wilderness map, delineating the range of wilderness across the whole of China, could be used in landscape planning to protect the remaining natural resources and evaluate existing spatial ecological protection schemes. With increasingly available new data, the proposed approach can be applied for mapping wilderness at other spatial scales and in other geographical areas.


Wilderness mapping Non-people zone Location based service (LBS) National level Nature protection Nature reserves 



We are grateful for the financial support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51778319), the National Water Pollution Control and Treatment Science and Technology Major Project (No. 2017ZX07103-002) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (NO. 2018M631476).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ArchitectureTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Architecture and Hang Lung Center for Real EstateTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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