GPS for Siberia & Mongolia?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by MarkC, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. MarkC

    MarkC Genuine Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    N/A
    Never had a GPS, love maps, but I intend to ride across northern Siberia (from Magadan) and onto Mongolia to see the Gobi desert.

    I think I could get by without a GPS in Siberia with local maps (cant be too many roads), but I'm sure I'll need it for Mongolia. So I'll also need a world map base.

    Would also like to be able to trace my route (distances per day etc,), via down load into a PC.

    I'm thinking of the Garmin Quest 1 since it is at a relatively low price (under $400...Reman units are avail for just over $300) and it's water resistance.

    Don't care too much about maps etc. for European cities once I cross over the Urals, rather use maps, but may try to use it since I have it (just world base map feature).

    Your thoughts? :ear

    Thanks,
    Mark
    #1
  2. MarkC

    MarkC Genuine Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    N/A
    Anyone? Need to buy a GPS very soon and don't want to regret buying the wrong one. All comments welcome. Which GPS would be best for such a trip?
    Thanks,
    MarkC
    #2
  3. RedAugust

    RedAugust I know how to float

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Finland, the land of 180 000 lakes
    Hi Mark,
    I planning same kind of trip, just coming in from west. I have Quest and plan to use it, but cannot really say if that's the best for you. I don't think the requirements for Siberia & Mongolia differ from what you'd set otherwise for a mc gps. I guess my only recommendation is that get Garmin, to my understanding their world map is more accurate in that area. I'm happy with the Quest, espacially because of it's versatility, the problems basically being fairly small screen and buttons, you'd also need a pc to save the tracks on a long trip. On the otherhand I like it being small, you can easily slip that into your pocket while walking in the city etc. Battery life is long. New Garmin 60 CSx looks interesting, but I haven't used it so cannot say much.
    #3
  4. MarkC

    MarkC Genuine Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    N/A
    Thanks for the reply. I agree, I think Garmin will be a good choice and eth world base map should be good enough. I visited Garmin's web page and used their helper to ID the right GPS unit for my use and they recommended the 'eTrex Vista Cx'.
    #4
  5. scottw

    scottw Steppe Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Hi Mark: Sorry for the late reply, but I just saw your thread. I live in Mongolia. Garmin's World Map CD-ROM map is by far the best GPS map for Mongolia. Not perfect, but pretty darn good. Load it up into a Garmin GPS and you're all set.

    Magellan will tell you where you are on the earth, but their Mongolia base map is lousy.

    If you like riding off-road, you'll love riding in Mongolia. Let me know if you have any questions about riding here.

    -Scott
    #5
  6. MarkC

    MarkC Genuine Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    N/A
    Hi Scott,
    I did buy the World map and have a Garmin Quest. I expect I will be in Mongolia around late July-August. I'll send you a PM with some more questions on Mongolia. Thanks :)
    Mark
    #6
  7. fimbulv

    fimbulv n00b

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    Hi Scott!

    I'm new here. Ended up here by searching for GPS maps for Mongolia. I'm coming to Mongolia in about a month- doing some research with pastoral nomads in Ovorkhangai/ Dund Govi. Are normal topographic maps so difficult to get in Mongolia? Is the Auto Atlas any good?

    I am considering buying a GPS now but cannot decide if I want a simple (positioning only/coordinates) one or one with maps. Garmin sounds like a good choice and I've heard good things about their world map but is it really useful to look at a map which is 2X3 inch? Doesn't one have to have a 'normal' map in addition?

    One last thing: can you use your international drivers licence in Mongolia. I've heard that the B-class (cars) is not accepted. Did you have to get a Mongolian licence?

    Cheers and happy riding!
    #7
  8. ThomD

    ThomD Is this thing on?

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    783
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Remember guys (and gals), if you have access to printed maps and a scanner, you can make your own maps for the gps. You won't get routing like the fancy City Navigator stuff, but it works.
    #8
  9. fimbulv

    fimbulv n00b

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    How does that work? Which format do you scan the maps in? JPG/GEF/TIFF?

    Sounds like a good idea, have you tried it? I guess it's a bit limited by the memory of the GPS itself- on my stationary computer I am using a scanned map of Mongolia that's about 30 MB- if it's much smaller it might be difficult to see the tracks/off-road paths.

    Thanks for the tip!
    #9
  10. ThomD

    ThomD Is this thing on?

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    783
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Well, I've never actually done it, but it doesn't look hard. It looks like it could take a lot of work. This link describes it
    http://www.robomatt.com/maps/makemaps_paper.html

    The basic steps are

    scan to a raster format,
    use OziExplorer to convert the raster to map format,
    use GPSMapEdit to trace everything you want your GPS to understand and save the results in .img format. I think you'll need cGpsMapper too.
    Use sendmap to load it into you GPS, altough the garmin software might do this.


    What a pain in the neck.

    Option 2 - take a laptop, use OziExplorer on the laptop, plug the GPS into the laptop and let OziExplorer show you your location on the scanned map (from step 1 above). This can also be done with a Windows CE PDA, but you'd need to get a GPS that can talk to your PDA.

    The size of the end product file depends on how many map features you trace in GPSMapEdit. You will get tired of tracing before you run out of memory. :D
    #10
  11. scottw

    scottw Steppe Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Fimbulv: Normal topographic maps are not available for Mongolia. With some time and expense you can get quite detailed Soviet maps, but still not as detailed as a "normal" topo map, and they are large and take up lots of space/weight.

    The Auto Atlas is quite good, as is the "Mongolia Road Map." I recommend using both, with a GPS. I think you should go ahead and get a GPS with the mapping. It is quite useful, especially if you want to use the GPS in a vehicle. Even though the screen is small, the GPS maps are still very useful, and you can zoom in and out to get whatever scale you need.

    The international driver's license is accepted in Mongolia. I've never heard of anyone having trouble with it. If you will be on a motorcycle make sure you have the motorcycle endorsement. I have a Mongolian driver's license, but I live here full time (4 years so far). If you are visiting for a short time the international driver's license should be no problem.

    -Scott
    #11
  12. fimbulv

    fimbulv n00b

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    Thanks a lot, Scott!

    I'll ponder a bit more on these things. I'll decide upon the licence thing while in Mongolia. I'll be there for 1 year, so it might be an option getting a local licence.

    Thanks again!
    #12
  13. XSNRG

    XSNRG Northern Michigan

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Traverse City, Michigan
    What is required to use a GPS on a trip through Russia/Siberia, Mongolia, etc...?

    I have heard a few people comment that GPS may not be allowed through the border crossing into Russia. Is there any truth to that?

    What do the world travelers on tihs list have to say from experience?

    Is there any regulation on GPS use in Asia?
    #13
  14. Snailster

    Snailster Confused but Determined

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Hawaii
    there is more info regarding the use of GPS in Russia on:
    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/

    We rode across Russia last year with a Garmin gps without problems, although we did not exactly advertise it to the cops. You will get stopped a few times a day at roadblocks, routine checkups where they will want to see title for the bike, insurance for Russia etc.
    I would suggest that you put the GPS in your pocket, may be safer, or at least simplify things - the cops tend to get nosy when they see foreign bikes.
    #14