Using collected information from the fourteenth century narrative, The Travels of Ibn Battutah, and modern mapping techniques, it has been possible to map the early stages of Ibn Battutah’s pilgrimage and exploration. While one map shows Battutah’s journey through Google Earth’s digital mapping software, the other map marks his journey on a digitized copy of the Hereford Mappa Mundi. Both maps display the same ten locations that Battutah first visits, starting in Tlemcen, Morocco, and ending in Alexandria, Egypt, however each map provides a unique display of these points. Mapping the same part of Battutah’s journey on two different types of maps, one being modern and the other medieval, shows both the different purposes of each map as well as the shared characteristics that remained consistent over the span of seven hundred years.

Because the modern map uses a mercator projection while the medieval map uses a T-O projection, these two maps have different orientations and  geographic features that alter the appearance of Battutah’s journey. The Hereford Mappa Mundi, which has an eastern orientation, places Tlemcen, Morocco near the bottom of the map and Alexandria, Egypt, near the middle. The digital map, however, has a northern orientation, and places Tlemcen near the left of the map and Alexandria further to the right. Although both maps show that Battutah traveled eastward, this direction of travel has more meaning on the Hereford Map due to the religious beliefs, as depicted on the map, associating an eternal “Paradise” with the East. By traveling in an upward direction, Battutah gets closer to the Garden of Eden,“Paradise”, and God/Allah, as depicted at the top of the map. The Hereford Map acts as a geographic and a spiritual reference, so it makes sense that the religious importance of this eastward movement is portrayed only on the medieval map.

The differing orientations made it difficult to translate the points from the modern map onto the medieval map, however the major water masses portrayed on both maps made this process more feasible. This section of Battutah’s journey occurred along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, so it was helpful to locate this body of water and then map the points in relation to it. Mapping the points in relation to a geographic feature results in less precise markers, but this method was necessary considering the major differences between the two maps. 

The spatial distance between each of the marked points, however,  remains relatively similar across the two maps. Even though the Hereford Map distorts the sizes of Asia, Africa, and Europe on a large scale, the sizes of individual countries in Africa are more realistic, at least along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in relation to each other. Battutah passes through Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt during this section of his pilgrimage; the first eight cities he visits are more clustered together, while the last two cities he visits, Tripoli, Libya, and Alexandria, Egypt, have a greater distance between them. Both maps show that Battutah traveled the longest the distance going from Tripoli to Alexandria, and the second longest distance going from Gabes to Tripoli. This similarity shows that even when maps have different orientations or scales, it is still possible to show the general relation between locations.