Developing a Global Index for Maritime Location of Countries

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Political Geography, Maraghegh University, Maraghegh, Iran

2 Full Professor of Political Geography, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor of Geography, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Changing nature of the relationship between human and geographical environment has had
considerable influence on geographical science school of thought. In terms of "ecological
analysis", this relationship is one of the important research fields in geographical sciences.
Geographic location is one of the key elements in the environment, which is divided into a
number of subgroups. In all traditional and modern theories of geography, geographical
location is one of the most important variables in power formulation and political behavior
of countries. Maritime location and access to free waters an element of geographical location,
and it is a significant variable in global theories of geopolitics and maritime studies. This
dimension of the location of countries has been descriptively studies, and it is essential to
determine the geographic location of the countries using qualitative and quantitative
indicators. The present study conducted to rank the maritime location of various countries.
This research is Fundamental in terms of its objective and descriptive-analytic in terms of
nature and method, and follows the quantitative research method. The statistics from
specialized agencies used to collect the indicator statistics of maritime location of countries
in order to consider comprehensiveness, reliability and validity of data from these
institutions. Library resources, papers, documents and official portals used to gather the
statistics related to the maritime location of the countries. Six indicators were selected for
survey from among the indicators related to maritime location of countries. Data analysis was
performed using quantitative methods and TOPSIS technique. In this study, maritime
location of nations was ranked by TOPSIS algorithm using natural and human indicators with
a multivariate and multidimensional approach to maritime location. The indicators were as
follows: (1) the ratio of maritime border length to border length of the country; (2) the ratio
of country surface area to maritime border length; (3) number of surrounding seas; (4)
number of sea ports; (5) The ratio of area of maritime zones (territorial sea, contiguous zone,
exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf) to the area of country; (6) ratio of coastal
population to total population of the country.
Result and Discussion
The research findings indicate that offshore countries with different levels of size, shape,
population, etc. placed in this ranking. By using the comparable indicators for countries (by
considering the ratio), small insular states were at the top of maritime location, but they were
not capable of taking advantage of their maritime location due to the absence of other
variables, including vaster territorial extent, qualified manpower (qualitative and
quantitative), limited political relations, etc. In contrast, countries with a long maritime
border, extended territory, proper coastal kerfs and skilled manpower are able to make good
use of their offshore location.
Maritime location of countries affects in political behavior and status of countries, and its
function depends on other elements of national power. Access to open waters enables
maritime contact and relationship between countries for trade, exchange of goods and even
ideas. In practice, it is observed that classical and modern naval powers have a sea coast
almost without excep.