Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


This paper applies Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methods and Open Web resources to reconstruct Tang Dynasty Buddhist Pilgrim XuanZang‘s travel routes and 180+ city states, stupas and monasteries he had recorded in the Great Tang Records on Western Regions (大唐西域記). Prior mapping efforts of XuanZang travel routes were selected for digitization, using reference points of the 80+ known locations XuanZang had mentioned in his biography, A Biography of the Tripitaka Master of the Great Ci’en Monastery of the Great Tang Dynasty(大唐大慈恩寺三藏法師傳). The authors then applied a cost-distance analysis method to validate the digitized routes by calculating high to low cost grids using four layers of rasters, including land cover, slope, distance to cities, and distance to water bodies (primarily rivers). This spatial method allows us to map the XuanZang travel routes more precisely. In addition to retracing XuanZang travel routes, the authors compiled coordinates of the 180+ locations recorded in the Travelogue. We retrieved locations in Wikipedia place entries with reference of XuanZang, and through the use of open sources, such as “Mapping Buddhist Monasteries” project to consolidate places recorded by XuanZang or referenced to XuanZang. The historical place names in Central and West Asia, mentioned in XuanZang’s recordings, have multiple Wikipedia entries in many languages. Extractions and compilation of these names can help to expand efforts of geographic thesauri of historical place names.



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).