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by Xingjian Liu1, Tinghua Ai2, and Yaolin Liu2
In this paper, we apply spatial analytical tool to address the question: Which geographic “panhandle” is more similar to a real panhandle?
“Panhandle” is an informal geographic term for an elongated tail-like protrusion of a geographic entity that is surrounded on three sides by land regions not of the same administration. The term is derived, as an analogy, from the relation between the shapes and relative locations of a cooking pan and its panhandle. For example, the United States has panhandles such as the “Texas Panhandle” and the “Florida Panhandle.” Other countries, too have panhandles, such as the “Panhandle of Austria,” the “New Brunswick Panhandle” and the “Panhandle of North Korea.”
Figure 1. Nine U.S. states with geographic panhandles, where panhandles are marked with red color (unless you are reading a version of this printed in black and white).
To the authors, the geographic term “panhandle” only captures some qualitatively geometry of the corresponding geographies, and there is no previous study addressing how close these panhandles are to a real-world panhandle. Because panhandle is defined in the context of a pan, answering the obvious question “Which geographic ‘panhandle’ is more similar to a real-world panhandle?” is equivalent to answering “Which U.S. state associated with a geographic panhandle looks more like a cooking pan?”