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Navigation - Maps, Compass, GPS How to find your way - traditional map, compass and road signs, or GPS and more
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  #1  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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GPS and Maps for Russia

Hey peoples!

I am planning a trip across Russia, from Vladivastok to Moscow. Could any one give me advice on where to get detailed maps of these roads or where to download GPS maps and what GPS to use.

Thanks. Denis.
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  #2  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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I rode from Chita to the Black Sea last summer, used a road atlas picked up at a gas station in Russia. Not clear if you can read Russian? If so, you shouldn't have a hard time finding adequate road atlases once you land in Vladi.

Also, not clear how detailed you mean...there are very detailed road atlases of each region in Russia, but since you'll be crossing about fifty regions (OK, maybe fewer) not sure if it makes sense to lug all of them around. Actually from Vladi to the Urals you don't need a very detailed map, as there is basically only one road (with some others branching off here and there). Once you get into the Urals the road network opens up--at that point I would try to stay off the main roads, cuz there is less traffic and fewer police (and its just nicer riding through the countryside).

As far as GPS--I used a garmin zumo but didnt' have any maps for it--basically used it as a compass and for dead-reckoning to hotel lat/longs. There are maps for Russia in a set called "Roads of Russia", now up to Version 5.12 I think. I believe that about many of the regions in this set (maybe 30?) are routable, the others are not. The problem is that to run these maps you have to "russify" your gps, which involves changing the firmware. I would check the zumo forums for more info.
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  #3  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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Thanks for your advice. I can speak Russian and I think I can read well enough to use an atlas. Could you recommend me which places to visit and approximately how long it would take to ride from Vlad to Moscow.
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  #4  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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It took us about a month to ride from Chita to Anapa on the Black Sea, that was riding almost every day but not the most direct route (via Ekaterinburg). The daily rides were not that long in kilometers but when we kept off the main roads it I think it would usually take us a full day to go maybe 500 km when you take into account that we stopped pretty for pix, etc., and its easier to get lost on them (at least without GPS maps). You could cover more ground sticking to the main roads but I found that to be a miserable experience. Be prepared to get lost if you stay off the main roads, as signage is generally not that great. I would try to get the GPS maps if I were doing it over again.

I would spend a couple of days in each of the big cities (Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Ufa, Ekaterinburg, etc., or least the ones on big rivers because there is usually a boardwalk or beach along the river where it is nice to hang out and check out the scenery. That said, there's not really that much to see in any one of these places so I wouldn't plan on staying too long. I really like the Volga/Southern Russia, you should try to work that in.

You didn't say what kind of bike you'll be on, but you should try to find out where there are major dealers, etc. for parts. If you have any problems, Russan bikers (actually Russians in general) will be extraordinarily helpful, but still it's good to know where to stop for maintenance and to have some numbers to call for parts.
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  #5  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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Digital topographic maps library has old Russian army survey maps at about 1:50000 scale if I remember correctly - free to download and if you have Oziexplorer you can convert them to a GPS map.

Its just that 1 map = about 50kms on the ground.

Plus the age of the maps could be a problem - late 1950s - but once away from the major industrial areas not much has changed by all accounts.

themapshop@btinternet.com www.themapshop.co.uk has/had a Russian road atlas for purchase in 2007 when I bought mine. Mainly in Russian but with the legend in a few languages. Place names in Cyrillic is handy when there are no sign posts in European script.
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  #6  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerM View Post
Digital topographic maps library has old Russian army survey maps at about 1:50000 scale if I remember correctly - free to download and if you have Oziexplorer you can convert them to a GPS map.

Its just that 1 map = about 50kms on the ground.
That depens on the scale of map .. the 1:500k ones may be better for a tourist trip... and they should be avalible free from the same site... they have a number of scales avalible .. not every where is avalible in the desired scale (I'm currently collecting Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Iran ... after Spain too but not found yet)

Converting these to a Gramin GPS map is not for the faint of heart ... and will take some weeks of work.

Fro Garmin GPS maping of russia you are best off buying Smellybikers 'WanderLust' world map (that would be in english).. Or if you want free but some days of work then maps from Maps catalogue and then two programs to generate the preview maps for your map set and the regedit file etc etc .. (these should be in russian with any luck, but may not cover the entire country side)
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  #7  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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Mapstor

My friend at Mapstor have oziexplorer maps for download for free (singularly) or purchase in bulk. Russian military maps.

I ma no expert on maps but have been advised these are the ones to have, especially if you speak russian.

You would need to have Oziexplorer too, but that costs (from memory) something like £30. ANd a 'thing' to run ozi on, either PDA or laptop varient.

good luck
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  #8  
Old 15 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by RogerM View Post
Plus the age of the maps could be a problem - late 1950s - but once away from the major industrial areas not much has changed by all accounts.
Actually, I think that things are changing alot, especially new roads, and especially improvement of old roads. I was in Russia last summer and most of the roads shown as unpaved in my road atlas had since been paved. We actually had a fairly difficult time finding long stretches of unpaved road.

And I can't imagine why anyone would need Russian military maps to traverse Russia, especially 1:50k maps. Yeah they'd be great if you'll be spending a lot of time in one area but if you're just passing through I think they'd be much less useful than a simple road atlas sold at many gas stations, newstands, bookstores, etc. in Russia.
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  #9  
Old 15 Jan 2009
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Actually, I think that things are changing alot, especially new roads, and especially improvement of old roads. I was in Russia last summer and most of the roads shown as unpaved in my road atlas had since been paved. We actually had a fairly difficult time finding long stretches of unpaved road.
Agreed. The extent and rate of upgrading is impressive - by UK standards!

Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
And I can't imagine why anyone would need Russian military maps to traverse Russia, especially 1:50k maps. Yeah they'd be great if you'll be spending a lot of time in one area but if you're just passing through I think they'd be much less useful than a simple road atlas sold at many gas stations, newstands, bookstores, etc. in Russia.
But this leads to another problem. The published maps are very slow at catching up - particularly for the more remote areas.

Yesterday I was in one of the principle book shops here, and the most recent printing edition I could find on anything for outside Moscow Region was 2006 (most were far earlier) - and that probably only contained a few slight changes relating to major roads and towns.

I find it reasonably safe to assume that if something is on a map there is something thereabouts on the ground - and that it is probably now in better condition than when the mappers looked at it. But forget trying to identify which roads are now the major ones from a map!
Ones own sense of direction generally serves better.
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  #10  
Old 16 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
Actually, I think that things are changing alot, especially new roads, and especially improvement of old roads. I was in Russia last summer and most of the roads shown as unpaved in my road atlas had since been paved. We actually had a fairly difficult time finding long stretches of unpaved road.
My experience last year over in the far east was that road construction, particularly between Khabarovsk and Chita, is still proceeding fairly slowly. There is also a fair amount of unsealed road between Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk.

I reckon at the current rate of progress that it will be at least 10 years before those roads are completely sealed.

Garry from Oz.
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Last edited by farqhuar; 16 Jan 2009 at 00:13. Reason: typographical errors
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  #11  
Old 17 Jan 2009
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Just got back from an excellent map store in Moscow:

"Atlas"
Kuznetski Most #9
+7-495-628-6109
atlas-map.ru

Really good selection of maps of Russia and other countries. Don't know if they ship internationally.
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  #12  
Old 11 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis View Post
Hey peoples!

I am planning a trip across Russia, from Vladivastok to Moscow. Could any one give me advice on where to get detailed maps of these roads or where to download GPS maps and what GPS to use.
Привет из Новой Зеландии

Thanks. Denis.
Let's go!
There was a place in moscow that did "unoffical" Garmin for russia divided into Oblasts from memory but I have lost the link, heaps of maps everywhere
You cannot get lost anyway!!!
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  #13  
Old 11 Feb 2009
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try these guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis View Post
Hey peoples!

I am planning a trip across Russia, from Vladivastok to Moscow. Could any one give me advice on where to get detailed maps of these roads or where to download GPS maps and what GPS to use.

Thanks. Denis.
ÀâòîÊîñìîñ
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  #14  
Old 11 Feb 2009
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Here is the link to the internet store of the company (Navicom) that creates the Garmin maps. Their product "Roads of Russia" is now up to version 5.12, and includes routable maps for sixty regions in Russia; note that the map showing detailed coverage is incorrect, as it does not show Irkutsk region and Buryatiya, which are both covered according to the list. The website is only in Russian, but there is a phone number, maybe someone there speaks English.

Àâòîìîáèëüíûå êàðòû äîðîã Ðîññèè è Ìîñêâû

Note that to use these maps you need to "Russify" your GPS, which involves installing new firmware from Navicom. I recently had them Russify my Zumo and have the maps, they look good, but have not been able to take them out for a spin yet; will try to keep you posted.
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  #15  
Old 11 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by sashadidi View Post
There was a place in moscow that did "unoffical" Garmin for russia divided into Oblasts from memory but I have lost the link
Probably Gorbushka market - Bagrationovskya (Багратионовская) Metro, Line 4 -light blue. 'Pirate', unlicenced and uncoded copies of everything and anything are available there -all softwear, programmes, music, movies, DVDs, CDs. Including Garmin. I know!

Its a huge indoor market for anything electrical, made up of literally hundreds and hundreds of individual small traders. Within seconds you will find someone on the upstairs floor who will burn you copies of Garmin or anything else after having shown you it first on-screen. Just check it is the version you want. They will understand sufficient English to want your money!
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