In order to improve the evaluation system for the water conservancy photography creation base, evaluation indicators regarding the aspects of photographic resources, photographic elements, and water resources were selected to construct an evaluation index system, and the evaluation criteria for each index were provided. The optimal comprehensive weight for each evaluation index was determined following the moment estimation theory. The quantitative evaluation of the water conservancy photography creation base was carried out combined with the scoring standards for each index. The evaluation index system constructed here was then discussed in the application. This indicated that the evaluation index system is suitable for determining the construction status of the evaluated cases, thus verifying its rationality. The comprehensive weighting of the indicators based on the moment estimation theory made the evaluation method more scientific and the corresponding results more reliable. This enabled the entire evaluation system and method to provide the theoretical support for the scientific evaluation of the water conservancy photography creation base.

  • The concept of water conservancy photography creation base is put forward for the first time.

  • Construction of the evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation base.

  • The application research on the evaluation index system is carried out.

  • Determine the comprehensive weight for each index by the moment estimation theory.

  • Use of two evaluation methods to validate the rationality of the evaluation results.

The water conservancy photography creation base is the premise with its water conservancy scenic resources, including water ecology, water conservancy projects, and water conservancy culture characteristic for water conservancy photography enthusiasts to carry out their photography creation, seminars, training, display, and exchange activities. The construction of such a base can effectively promote the creation and dissemination of excellent water conservancy photography and promote the development of water conservancy to inherit and carry forward its spirit (Huang, 2019; Song, 2020; Xu, 2020).

Since the 1950s, the international community has begun to focus on the development of water conservation photography (Pike, 1982) and applied it for water environment protection (Norman & William, 2014), water crisis exploration (Anonymous, 2016), and other aspects. Since the 1980s, with the rapid development of water conservancy in China, a series of exploratory works for water conservancy photography have also been carried out domestically (Cheng, 1984; Huang, 1984). Scholars began to investigate this subject (Zheng & Fan, 1999; Lan, 2000) and its application in water culture heritage (Li et al., 2014), water conservancy reform and development (The Water Conservancy Writers Association, 2019), water conservancy engineering construction (Lian et al., 2016), news reporting (Zhang, 2019), and so on. Simultaneously, in different regions or by various units of China, a variety of conservancy photography activities were carried out successively, and exclusive places suitable for conservancy photography were established (Wang, 2015, 2016; Xia, 2014). Thus, the concept of water conservancy photography creation base became a topic of public concern. In 2019, the China Water Resources Literature and Art Association proposed to establish a number of water conservancy photography creation base tasks. However, little was mentioned of the criteria that a base created for water photography should meet. In addition, there was no evaluation index system or clear application fruits to reveal the construction and development of a water conservancy photography creation base.

The evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation base should be an organic whole with an internal structure composed of multiple indexes that characterize the various aspects of the base and their interconnections. It should be a system that can point out the direction for the construction and development of the water conservancy photography creation base and promote the development of water conservancy photography (Li et al., 2020). This study combines the concept and construction purpose for the water conservancy photography creation base and proposes an evaluation index system for the base. The system included one target layer, three criteria layers, and 20 index layers. The scoring standard was set for each index layer, moment estimation theory was employed to obtain the optimal combined weight for each index, a reasonable evaluation method and evaluation results classification were determined, and those above results were put in application research.

The construction of the evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation base

To reflect the construction and development of the water conservancy photography creation base, the construction of the evaluation index system should show its consideration for different categories and levels of indexes. These indicators should be both interconnected and independent, follow dynamic, systematic, and quantifiable principles, and combine itself with the existing construction foundation. Therefore, such a system could form the flowchart (Figure 1) of an evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation base by referring to the construction methods of the index system in the scientific researches in the field of water conservancy (Wang et al., 2018a, 2018b; Kanga et al., 2020; Wu et al., 2020). At the same time, following the research in similar fields (Azevedo Lopes et al., 2016; Gao, 2016; Li et al., 2016; Deng, 2017; Jha et al., 2020), we investigated the construction status and characteristics of different types of water conservancy photography creation bases in China, invited experts in water conservancy photography, and initiated discussions. As a result, in this study, we proposed an evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation bases with the base as the target layer, the photography resources, photographic elements, and water conservancy resources as the criterion layer, and the 20 indexes such as landscape resources and material cultural heritage as the index layer. Among these, the index layers were mostly qualitative indicators. Combined with the related research achievement (Gao, 2016; Jha et al., 2020), qualitative research was usually based on high, medium, and poor. Quantitative indicators such as photography days, water conservancy project scale, and water environmental conditions are assessed in three grades based on actual data. The evaluation method was scored by the Delphi Method according to 80–100, 60–79, and 0–59 (Jami et al., 2019), respectively. Furthermore, we defined the evaluation grading criteria and the scoring standard for the index (Table 1).

Table 1

The evaluation index system and evaluation grading standard for the water conservancy photography creation base.

Target layerCriterion layerIndex layerEvaluation grading criteriaScore
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photography Resources
K1 
Landscape resource K11 High abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves that falls into excellent level
Relatively high abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves that falls into common level
Average abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves that falls into common level 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Material cultural heritage K12 Constructed before the Tang and Song dynasties thus of a high cultural and scientific values, and high spiritual and age significance
Constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, thus of a moderately high cultural and scientific value, with strong spiritual and age significance
Constructed at modern times, thus of a general cultural and scientific value, as well as spiritual and age significance 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Intangible cultural
heritage K13 
Constructed before the Tang and Song dynasties thus of a high cultural and scientific values and high spiritual and age significance
Constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, thus of a moderately high cultural and scientific value, with strong spiritual and age significance 
[80–100]
[60–79] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photography Resources
K1 
 Constructed at modern times, thus of a general cultural and
scientific value, as well as spiritual and age significance 
[0–59] 
Landscape resource combination effect K14 Good spatial distribution of landscape resources and resource combination effects
Average spatial distribution of landscape resources and resource combination effects
Poor spatial distribution of landscape resources and resource combination effects 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Landscape resource protection K15 Effectively protected authenticity and integrity of natural and human heritage sites and landscapes
The authenticity and integrity of natural and human monuments and landscapes are protected to a certain extent
Seriously damaged authenticity and integrity of natural and human monuments and landscapes 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Photographic
Elements K2 
Level of importance K21 Strong preferential policies and great convenience provided for creators of photographs
Certain preferential policies and some conveniences provided for the creators of photographs
Only partial or no convenience provided for the creators of photographs 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Impact of its events K22 Showing an international influence
Showing a great influence in China
Showing little influence in China or only in local provinces and regions 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Base popularity Well known internationally
Well known in China 
[80–100]
[60–79] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photographic Elements K2 K23 Less well-known in China or only known in local provinces and regions [0–59] 
Infrastructure K24 Equipped with perfect living service facilities and safety facilities and convenient transportation
Equipped with amenities and safety facilities that meet basic requirements and are relatively easy to access
Equipped with inadequate amenities and security facilities and inadequate access to transportation 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Days available for photography K25 200 or more days available for photography during the year
Between 100 and 200 days available for photography during the year
Available for less than 100 days for photography during the year 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Management institutions and team construction K26 Establishment of an independent management structure with dedicated staff to meet all the management needs of the base
Establishment of an independent management body with dedicated staff to basically meet all the management needs of the base
Lack of an independent management body and dedicated staff 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photographic Elements K2 Construction of photographic workforce K27 Equipped with a team of professional photographers and in a long-term cooperation with a photography team
Equipped with a certain team of talented photographers or in a long-term relationship with a photography team
With no team of professional photographers and in no long-term partnerships with a photography team 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water resources K3 Scenic water resources K31 High abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves, which falls into excellent level
Relatively high abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves, which falls into common level
Average abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves, which falls into a common level 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Preservation of water cultural heritage K32 Constructed before the Tang and Song dynasties thus of a high cultural and scientific values and a high spiritual and age significance
Constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, thus of a moderately high cultural and scientific value, with strong spiritual and age significance
Constructed at modern times, thus of a general cultural and scientific value, as well as spiritual and age significance 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Water resources K3 Scale of water project K33 The scale of water conservancy project graded as I and above
The scale of water conservancy project graded as II or III
The scale of water conservancy project graded as IV and below 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Biodiversity K34 Stable or increased population of the primarily protected species, stable or improved area and quality of key habitats, and stable status of the primarily protected objects
Stable population of the primarily protected species, stable area and quality of key habitats, stable status of the primarily protected objects
Decreasing population of the primarily protected species, decreasing area and quality of key habitats and deteriorating status of the primarily protected objects 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water environmental conditions K35 The quality of water environment reaching class II and above
The quality of water environment reaching III or IV
The water environment quality reaching V and below 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Representative water control figure K36 With many representative water controlling figures which have made great contributions to the local area
With water controlling figures which have made certain contributions to the local area
With no well-known water controlling figures 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Water resources K3 Representative water conservancy spirit and influence K37 Having internationally influential water conservancy spirit, which has been inherited and carried forward
Having domestically influential water conservancy spirit, which has been inherited and carried forward
Having only locally influential water conservancy spirit, which has been poorly inherited and carried forward 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Significance to the reform and development of water conservancy K38 Greatly promoting the development of water conservancy and being a milestone in the development of water conservancy in China
Moderately promoting the development of water conservancy and being historically significant
Rarely promoting the development of water conservancy and rarely being historically significant 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Target layerCriterion layerIndex layerEvaluation grading criteriaScore
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photography Resources
K1 
Landscape resource K11 High abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves that falls into excellent level
Relatively high abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves that falls into common level
Average abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves that falls into common level 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Material cultural heritage K12 Constructed before the Tang and Song dynasties thus of a high cultural and scientific values, and high spiritual and age significance
Constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, thus of a moderately high cultural and scientific value, with strong spiritual and age significance
Constructed at modern times, thus of a general cultural and scientific value, as well as spiritual and age significance 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Intangible cultural
heritage K13 
Constructed before the Tang and Song dynasties thus of a high cultural and scientific values and high spiritual and age significance
Constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, thus of a moderately high cultural and scientific value, with strong spiritual and age significance 
[80–100]
[60–79] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photography Resources
K1 
 Constructed at modern times, thus of a general cultural and
scientific value, as well as spiritual and age significance 
[0–59] 
Landscape resource combination effect K14 Good spatial distribution of landscape resources and resource combination effects
Average spatial distribution of landscape resources and resource combination effects
Poor spatial distribution of landscape resources and resource combination effects 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Landscape resource protection K15 Effectively protected authenticity and integrity of natural and human heritage sites and landscapes
The authenticity and integrity of natural and human monuments and landscapes are protected to a certain extent
Seriously damaged authenticity and integrity of natural and human monuments and landscapes 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Photographic
Elements K2 
Level of importance K21 Strong preferential policies and great convenience provided for creators of photographs
Certain preferential policies and some conveniences provided for the creators of photographs
Only partial or no convenience provided for the creators of photographs 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Impact of its events K22 Showing an international influence
Showing a great influence in China
Showing little influence in China or only in local provinces and regions 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Base popularity Well known internationally
Well known in China 
[80–100]
[60–79] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photographic Elements K2 K23 Less well-known in China or only known in local provinces and regions [0–59] 
Infrastructure K24 Equipped with perfect living service facilities and safety facilities and convenient transportation
Equipped with amenities and safety facilities that meet basic requirements and are relatively easy to access
Equipped with inadequate amenities and security facilities and inadequate access to transportation 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Days available for photography K25 200 or more days available for photography during the year
Between 100 and 200 days available for photography during the year
Available for less than 100 days for photography during the year 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Management institutions and team construction K26 Establishment of an independent management structure with dedicated staff to meet all the management needs of the base
Establishment of an independent management body with dedicated staff to basically meet all the management needs of the base
Lack of an independent management body and dedicated staff 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Photographic Elements K2 Construction of photographic workforce K27 Equipped with a team of professional photographers and in a long-term cooperation with a photography team
Equipped with a certain team of talented photographers or in a long-term relationship with a photography team
With no team of professional photographers and in no long-term partnerships with a photography team 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water resources K3 Scenic water resources K31 High abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves, which falls into excellent level
Relatively high abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves, which falls into common level
Average abundance and variety of landscape resource and reserves, which falls into a common level 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Preservation of water cultural heritage K32 Constructed before the Tang and Song dynasties thus of a high cultural and scientific values and a high spiritual and age significance
Constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, thus of a moderately high cultural and scientific value, with strong spiritual and age significance
Constructed at modern times, thus of a general cultural and scientific value, as well as spiritual and age significance 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Water resources K3 Scale of water project K33 The scale of water conservancy project graded as I and above
The scale of water conservancy project graded as II or III
The scale of water conservancy project graded as IV and below 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Biodiversity K34 Stable or increased population of the primarily protected species, stable or improved area and quality of key habitats, and stable status of the primarily protected objects
Stable population of the primarily protected species, stable area and quality of key habitats, stable status of the primarily protected objects
Decreasing population of the primarily protected species, decreasing area and quality of key habitats and deteriorating status of the primarily protected objects 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water environmental conditions K35 The quality of water environment reaching class II and above
The quality of water environment reaching III or IV
The water environment quality reaching V and below 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Representative water control figure K36 With many representative water controlling figures which have made great contributions to the local area
With water controlling figures which have made certain contributions to the local area
With no well-known water controlling figures 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Water conservancy photography creation base K Water resources K3 Representative water conservancy spirit and influence K37 Having internationally influential water conservancy spirit, which has been inherited and carried forward
Having domestically influential water conservancy spirit, which has been inherited and carried forward
Having only locally influential water conservancy spirit, which has been poorly inherited and carried forward 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Significance to the reform and development of water conservancy K38 Greatly promoting the development of water conservancy and being a milestone in the development of water conservancy in China
Moderately promoting the development of water conservancy and being historically significant
Rarely promoting the development of water conservancy and rarely being historically significant 
[80–100]
[60–79]
[0–59] 
Fig. 1

The flowchart for the index system construction.

Fig. 1

The flowchart for the index system construction.

Determination of the weight for each index

At present, there are many methods to determine the weight of evaluation indexes, which can be divided into subjective weighting and objective weighting (Chung et al., 2016). Subjective weighting methods, such as the analytic hierarchy process (AHO; Horacio et al., 2018) and expert consultation method (Chung et al., 2016), can reasonably determine the weight of an index based on the actual situation. However, it could be more subjective and arbitrary. On the other hand, objective weighting methods, such as the entropy method (EM; Park et al., 2016) and principal component analysis (Cao et al., 2020), were used to determine the index weight based on the objective law of the problem studied, but with poor universality. The moment estimation theory, widely applied in the comprehensive weight calculation, uses the sample moments to estimate the overall moment (Byungsu et al., 2019; Peng & Deng, 2020). In order to improve the credibility of the index weight, this paper, based on the moment estimation theory, combined the subjective and the objective weighting methods and employed their advantages to determine the comprehensive weight for each index for the water conservancy photography creation base (Kang et al., 2019). The calculation steps are as follows:

Assume that index xk has a total of q weighting samples, including p subjective ones with a subjective weight of wsk, then we have q-p objective weighting samples with an objective weight of wok, and the combination of weights would be the optimal value when the deviation of each index weight wk and the total of q weights is minimum. Simultaneously, set α and β, respectively, are the relative importance coefficients of the main objective weights to construct the combined weight optimization model:
formula
(1)
The expected value for evaluation index xk was calculated:
formula
(2)
Based on this, the important relative coefficients of the index xk, namely αk and βk, were obtained:
formula
(3)
Based on the moment estimation theory, the relative importance coefficients for each index α and β were obtained:
formula
(4)
The optimal combined weight of the index xk was obtained:
formula
(5)
where De(k) is the comprehensive weight value of the evaluation index; q is the total of weighting samples; p is the subjective weighting samples; wsk is the subjective weight; wok is the objective weight; wk is the comprehensive weights for each index; α and β are the relative importance coefficients of the main objective weights; αk and βk are the relative importance coefficients of the main objective weights for each indicator; and n is the number of evaluation index.

Evaluation method and grading for the water conservancy photography creation base

According to the scores and weight results, the comprehensive evaluation method was used for quantitative evaluation of the water conservancy photography creation base (Song 2020). The calculation formula is as follows:
formula
(6)
where Xi is the score of the index; Wi is the weight of the index; and S is the overall evaluation score of the water conservancy photography creation base.

Based on the evaluation scores and criteria, the specific evaluation grading was determined as follows: (1) The overall evaluation score of [80, 100] was graded as ‘excellent’. (2) The overall evaluation score of [60, 79] was graded as ‘good’. (3) The overall evaluation score of [0, 59] was graded as ‘poor’.

Overview of the study area

The Xiaolangdi Dam, the Red Flag Canal, and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section), constructed at different times and for different purposes, were located in Henan province. The province represents the characteristics of different periods and types of water conservancy projects in China (Figure 2). Therefore, these were chosen as research objects to carry out an application study on the evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation base in order to verify its rationality and feasibility.

Fig. 2

Geographical location map of the study areas.

Fig. 2

Geographical location map of the study areas.

Calculation of comprehensive weight

The AHP and EM to calculate the subjective and objective weights of the indicators on the criterion layer and the index layer of the evaluation index system were selected, respectively. The weights of the indicators of the criterion layer were calculated. The subjective weight was defined as Wkn (AHP), and the objective weight was defined as Wkn (EM). The relative importance coefficient of the subjective weight αkn and that of the objective weight βkn were obtained according to Equation (3). Based on Equation (4), the relative importance coefficient of the subjective weight of the indicators on the indicator level was determined as α = 0.4826, and that of the objective weight was β = 0.5174. Thus, the weights of the indicators on the criterion layer were calculated as the Wkn (Table 2). The indicators on the criterion layer were divided into independent units for the calculation of the weight of the indicators on the index layer. The subjective weight was denoted as Wkij (AHP) and the objective weight as Wkij (EM). The relative importance coefficient of the subjective weight αkij and that of the objective weight βkij could be obtained according to Equation (3). The relative importance coefficient of the subjective weight of the indicators on the index layer was obtained as α = 0.4875, and that of the objective weight was obtained as β = 0.5125 according to Equation (4). Thus, the comprehensive weight of each index layer was Wkij (Table 2).

Table 2

The comprehensive weight of each evaluation index.

KnWkn (AHP)Wkn (EM)αknβknWknKijWkij (AHP)Wkij (EM)αkijβkijWkij
K1 0.1634 0.4449 0.2686 0.7314 0.3090 K11 0.1844 0.1683 0.5228 0.4772 0.1761 
K12 0.1059 0.1683 0.3862 0.6138 0.1379 
K13 0.4193 0.1683 0.7136 0.2864 0.2907 
K14 0.1059 0.2476 0.2996 0.7004 0.1785 
K15 0.1844 0.2476 0.4269 0.5731 0.2168 
K2 0.2970 0.2627 0.5307 0.4693 0.2793 K21 0.0820 0.2203 0.2713 0.7287 0.1529 
K22 0.1738 0.0820 0.6794 0.3206 0.1268 
K23 0.1952 0.0820 0.7042 0.2958 0.1372 
K24 0.2627 0.0820 0.7621 0.2379 0.1701 
K25 0.1219 0.2203 0.3562 0.6438 0.1723 
K26 0.0774 0.0932 0.4537 0.5463 0.0855 
K27 0.0869 0.2203 0.2829 0.7171 0.1553 
K3 0.5396 0.2924 0.6486 0.3514 0.4117 K31 0.0918 0.0708 0.5646 0.4354 0.0810 
K32 0.0760 0.0805 0.4856 0.5144 0.0783 
K33 0.2713 0.0934 0.7439 0.2561 0.1801 
K34 0.0829 0.1902 0.3036 0.6964 0.1379 
K35 0.0511 0.1042 0.3290 0.6710 0.0783 
K36 0.1131 0.0805 0.5842 0.4158 0.0964 
K37 0.2061 0.1902 0.5201 0.4799 0.1980 
K38 0.1070 0.1902 0.3611 0.6389 0.1499 
KnWkn (AHP)Wkn (EM)αknβknWknKijWkij (AHP)Wkij (EM)αkijβkijWkij
K1 0.1634 0.4449 0.2686 0.7314 0.3090 K11 0.1844 0.1683 0.5228 0.4772 0.1761 
K12 0.1059 0.1683 0.3862 0.6138 0.1379 
K13 0.4193 0.1683 0.7136 0.2864 0.2907 
K14 0.1059 0.2476 0.2996 0.7004 0.1785 
K15 0.1844 0.2476 0.4269 0.5731 0.2168 
K2 0.2970 0.2627 0.5307 0.4693 0.2793 K21 0.0820 0.2203 0.2713 0.7287 0.1529 
K22 0.1738 0.0820 0.6794 0.3206 0.1268 
K23 0.1952 0.0820 0.7042 0.2958 0.1372 
K24 0.2627 0.0820 0.7621 0.2379 0.1701 
K25 0.1219 0.2203 0.3562 0.6438 0.1723 
K26 0.0774 0.0932 0.4537 0.5463 0.0855 
K27 0.0869 0.2203 0.2829 0.7171 0.1553 
K3 0.5396 0.2924 0.6486 0.3514 0.4117 K31 0.0918 0.0708 0.5646 0.4354 0.0810 
K32 0.0760 0.0805 0.4856 0.5144 0.0783 
K33 0.2713 0.0934 0.7439 0.2561 0.1801 
K34 0.0829 0.1902 0.3036 0.6964 0.1379 
K35 0.0511 0.1042 0.3290 0.6710 0.0783 
K36 0.1131 0.0805 0.5842 0.4158 0.0964 
K37 0.2061 0.1902 0.5201 0.4799 0.1980 
K38 0.1070 0.1902 0.3611 0.6389 0.1499 

As the conclusion of the above calculations (Table 2), the weights of the indicators in the criteria level were, in descending order, water resources (0.4117), photographic resources (0.3090), and photographic elements (0.2793). This indicates that water resources have the greatest influence, followed by photographic resources, and then by the photographic elements. In the index layer, indexes including intangible cultural heritage (0.2907), landscape resource combination effect (0.1785), infrastructure (0.1701), days available for photographic (0.1723), representative water conservancy spirit and influence (0.1980), scale of water project (0.1801), and significance for water conservancy reform and development (0.1499), were higher. The weight calculation results were consistent with the fact that the construction of the water photography creation base is to serve the cause of water photography, to promote the development of water conservancy, inheritance, and to enhance China's excellent water culture and water conservancy spirit.

Evaluation results and analysis

Comprehensive evaluation results

According to the principle that the ratio of the number of variables to the sample size should not be less than 1:5 (He, 2019), field research, document review, questionnaire survey, and expert consultation were employed to collect data on the Xiaolangdi Dam, the Red Flag Canal, and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section). After these methods, 105, 100, and 103 copies of the effective data were obtained, respectively, and the survey data were recorded into the SPSS20.0 software for validity test. The results of the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) test for the obtained samples were 0.824, 0.858, and 0.813. They were between 0.8 and 0.9, and results indicated that the data were suitable for factor analysis (Saranda & Nail, 2018; Estiva & Diño, 2020). The evaluation results were 85.06 points, 85.53 points, and 77.82 points, which indicated that the evaluation grade of the Xiaolangdi Dam and the Red Flag Canal was ‘excellent’, and that of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) was ‘good’; the standard deviations of evaluation indicators in the study area were 1.6104, 1.6532, and 1.8749, respectively (Table 3).

Table 3

Evaluation results of the research area of water conservancy photography creation base.

Target layerCriterion layer (weight)Index layerWeightEvaluation score
Xiaolangdi DamRed Flag CanalThe Grand Canal
Water conservancy Photography creation base K Photography Resources K1
0.3090
Photography Resources K1
0.3090 
Landscape resource K11 0.1761 4.8563 4.2285 3.3806 
Material cultural heritage K12 0.1379 3.2155 3.4032 3.6117 
Intangible cultural heritage K13 0.2907 6.9086 7.4627 8.0258 
Landscape resource combination effect K14 0.1785 4.6791 4.3134 3.1301 
Landscape resource protection K15 0.2168 5.5983 5.2500 4.1330 
Subtotal  25.2578 24.6578 22.2812 
Photographic Elements K2
0.2793 
Level of importance K21 0.1529 3.0714 3.5833 3.6298 
Impact of its events K22 0.1268 2.8665 3.1134 2.7913 
Base popularity K23 0.1372 3.5445 3.5445 2.5246 
Infrastructure K24 0.1701 3.9844 4.1918 4.2208 
Days available for photography K25 0.1723 4.3182 4.2033 4.1937 
Management institutions and team construction K26 0.0855 1.8926 2.0239 1.8258 
Construction of photographic workforce K27 0.1553 3.2577 3.8637 2.4626 
Subtotal  22.9353 24.5239 21.6486 
Water Resources K3
0.4117 
Scenic water resources K31 0.0810 3.1284 2.4757 2.1341 
Preservation of water cultural heritage K32 0.0783 2.3778 2.6547 2.4723 
Scale of water project
k33 
0.1801 6.9657 6.9505 6.9505 
Biodiversity K34 0.1379 4.7620 4.6483 3.6425 
Water environmental conditions K35 0.0783 2.8477 2.2497 1.5127 
Representative water control figure K36 0.0964 3.4349 3.7249 3.6000 
Representative water conservancy spirit and influence K37 0.1980 7.5608 7.7999 7.7916 
Significance to the reform and development of water conservancy K38 0.1499 5.7854 5.8412 5.7854 
Subtotal  36.8627 36.3449 33.8891 
Total  85.0558 85.5266 77.8189 
Standard deviation  1.6104 1.6532 1.8749 
Target layerCriterion layer (weight)Index layerWeightEvaluation score
Xiaolangdi DamRed Flag CanalThe Grand Canal
Water conservancy Photography creation base K Photography Resources K1
0.3090
Photography Resources K1
0.3090 
Landscape resource K11 0.1761 4.8563 4.2285 3.3806 
Material cultural heritage K12 0.1379 3.2155 3.4032 3.6117 
Intangible cultural heritage K13 0.2907 6.9086 7.4627 8.0258 
Landscape resource combination effect K14 0.1785 4.6791 4.3134 3.1301 
Landscape resource protection K15 0.2168 5.5983 5.2500 4.1330 
Subtotal  25.2578 24.6578 22.2812 
Photographic Elements K2
0.2793 
Level of importance K21 0.1529 3.0714 3.5833 3.6298 
Impact of its events K22 0.1268 2.8665 3.1134 2.7913 
Base popularity K23 0.1372 3.5445 3.5445 2.5246 
Infrastructure K24 0.1701 3.9844 4.1918 4.2208 
Days available for photography K25 0.1723 4.3182 4.2033 4.1937 
Management institutions and team construction K26 0.0855 1.8926 2.0239 1.8258 
Construction of photographic workforce K27 0.1553 3.2577 3.8637 2.4626 
Subtotal  22.9353 24.5239 21.6486 
Water Resources K3
0.4117 
Scenic water resources K31 0.0810 3.1284 2.4757 2.1341 
Preservation of water cultural heritage K32 0.0783 2.3778 2.6547 2.4723 
Scale of water project
k33 
0.1801 6.9657 6.9505 6.9505 
Biodiversity K34 0.1379 4.7620 4.6483 3.6425 
Water environmental conditions K35 0.0783 2.8477 2.2497 1.5127 
Representative water control figure K36 0.0964 3.4349 3.7249 3.6000 
Representative water conservancy spirit and influence K37 0.1980 7.5608 7.7999 7.7916 
Significance to the reform and development of water conservancy K38 0.1499 5.7854 5.8412 5.7854 
Subtotal  36.8627 36.3449 33.8891 
Total  85.0558 85.5266 77.8189 
Standard deviation  1.6104 1.6532 1.8749 

Fuzzy comprehensive evaluation results

A fuzzy comprehensive evaluation model is usually applied to deal with fuzzy systems. It can improve the reliability of sample level evaluation and characterize the real state and properties of evaluation objects (Wang et al., 2018a, 2018b; Wu et al., 2018). Therefore, the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation model was then applied to calculate the evaluation result of the study areas, in order to validate the rationality of the comprehensive evaluation method. The calculation steps are as follows:

With research data, criterion layers of the Xiaolangdi Dam, the Red Flag Canal, and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) were calculated and standardized separately (Table 4).

Table 4

Research results and their standardization.

Study areasResearch results
Standardized research results
Photography resourcesPhotographic elementsWater resourcesPhotography resourcesPhotographic elementsWater resources
Xiaolangdi Dam 423.2 574.8 703.5 0.3548 0.3323 0.3501 
Red Flag Canal 409.2 617.4 686.2 0.3430 0.3569 0.3415 
The Grand Canal 360.5 537.8 619.8 0.3022 0.3109 0.3084 
Study areasResearch results
Standardized research results
Photography resourcesPhotographic elementsWater resourcesPhotography resourcesPhotographic elementsWater resources
Xiaolangdi Dam 423.2 574.8 703.5 0.3548 0.3323 0.3501 
Red Flag Canal 409.2 617.4 686.2 0.3430 0.3569 0.3415 
The Grand Canal 360.5 537.8 619.8 0.3022 0.3109 0.3084 
Calculating the weight of each index layer based on the comprehensive weight method (Section 3.2):
formula
(7)
Compose the single factor evaluation matrix:
formula
(8)
Calculate the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation values:
formula
(9)
The results of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation are:
formula
(10)

The results showed that the Red Flag Canal had the highest evaluation value (0.3572), followed by the Xiaolangdi Dam (0.3525), while the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) had the lowest evaluation value (0.3128).

Analysis

Based on the evaluation results (Table 3), a comparison chart for the overall evaluation results and criterion layers subscores in the study area was drawn (Figure 3) and analyzed. The Red Flag Canal had the highest evaluation value (85.5266), followed by the Xiaolangdi Dam (85.0558), and there was little difference between these two, while the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) had the lowest evaluation value (77.8189). At the same time, the results of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation were 0.3527, 0.3525, and 0.3128. Therefore, the results of comprehensive evaluation were consistent with those of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation. In terms of criterion layers, for all the three study areas, water resources had the highest score, followed by photographic resources, and photographic elements had the lowest score. The Xiaolangdi Dam obtained the highest scores in both water resources and photography resources, the Red Flag Canal scored highest in photographic elements, while the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) obtained the lowest score in all the criteria level indexes. This was a combined result of the long history of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section), the siltation of the river in recent times, the reduction of water volume, and the decline of the water transport business, in comparison with the Xiaolangdi Dam and the Red Flag Canal. The Xiaolangdi Dam and the Red Flag Canal were built in the modern era and are now in good operating condition with a perfect management system; thus, both have certain advantages in the construction of water conservancy photographic creation base.

Fig. 3

Comparison of the overall evaluation results and criterion layer subscores in the study area.

Fig. 3

Comparison of the overall evaluation results and criterion layer subscores in the study area.

Based on the evaluation results (Table 3), a comparison chart of the scores of the indicators in the study area was drawn (Figure 4) and analyzed. Both the Xiaolangdi Dam and the Red Flag Canal obtained the highest scores on the indicator representative water conservancy spirit and influence, which were 7.5560 and 7.7440, respectively. The lowest scores on the indicators of management institutions and team construction were 1.9031 and 2.0519, respectively, for the Xiaolangdi Dam and the Red Flag Canal. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) had the highest score for intangible cultural heritage, which was 8.0664, and the lowest score for water environment conditions, which was 1.5087. The standard deviation of the scores for the three study areas, namely the Xiaolangdi Dam, the Red Flag Canal, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) were 1.6104, 1.6532, and 1.8749, respectively. This indicated a large gap between the scores and that the development among those bases was uneven; the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) was more obvious in this aspect. In addition, all three study areas scored high on the four indicators of intangible cultural heritage, scale of water project, representative water conservancy spirit and influence, and significance to the reform and development of water conservancy. Meanwhile, they scored relatively low on the three other indicators of management institutions and team construction, material cultural heritage, and water environmental conditions. Therefore, in the future development of the construction, all three study areas, while maintaining the advantageous indexes, need to strengthen their management team with water photography skills, explore and protect the aquatic cultural heritage, and improve their water environment.

Fig. 4

Comparison chart for each index score in the study area.

Fig. 4

Comparison chart for each index score in the study area.

This study constructed an index system to evaluate water conservancy photography creation bases, which included 20 index layers from three aspects of photography resources, photographic elements, and water resources. The comprehensive evaluation method was used to conduct an empirical study on the Red Flag Canal, the Xiaolangdi Dam, and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section). This study solved the lack of a universal evaluation index system for the water conservancy photography creation base.

Based on the moment estimation theory, we combined the advantages of subjective and objective weighting methods to determine the comprehensive weight for each index for the water conservancy photography creation base. The weights of the indicators in the criteria layer were in a descending order: water resources (0.4117) > photographic resources (0.3090) > photographic elements (0.2793). In the index layer, the indexes, such as intangible cultural heritage (0.2907), landscape resource combination effect (0.1785), infrastructure (0.1701), the number of photographic days (0.1723), representative water conservancy spirit and influence (0.1980), water conservancy projects scale (0.1801), and significance for water conservancy reform and development (0.1499), were higher. The weight value was in agreement with the connotation and construction purpose of water conservancy photography creation base.

The Red Flag Canal, the Xiaolangdi Dam, and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (Taiqian section) were evaluated by a comprehensive evaluation method. The evaluation grades were excellent (85.53), excellent (85.06), and good (77.82), respectively. At the same time, the results of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation were 0.3527, 0.3525, and 0.3128. Therefore, the results of comprehensive evaluation were consistent with that of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation. In addition, the evaluation results were consistent with the actual situation of the study areas, and the evaluation of each index layer could reflect the actual problems in the study areas. It was observed that the evaluation system and the comprehensive evaluation method of water conservancy photography creation base could scientifically complete the evaluation of water conservancy photography creation base.

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41601019) and the science and technology innovation talent support program in Henan Province (15HASTIT046).

All relevant data are included in the paper or its Supplementary Information.

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