hard to get, especially for for ex-USSR area and not many people
know where to get them. Maps used to be accessible for military
use there only and you may even be suspicious of having them
for some strange reason like a support of mujahedins or
seem funny, but I was interrogated in both Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan (area of Fergana valley) in year 2000 for having a
copy of generally a accessible tourist edition map (1:100 000)
of Ak-Su region, where fighting with mujahedins was taking
place at that time. Older people especially were raised in the
Soviet spy-mania times. If you finally manage to get good
maps, it is better to take copies only, because there is a
chance, that they may be confiscated.
almost necessary to have good maps for trekking before going to
ex-USSR territory (and it is often the only possibility).
They can be bought at only one or several places there, if they
can be bought at all (as it is with military maps).
where to buy
maps of specified regions when you are in that country
, see my pages giving info about individual
regions. Digital versions of maps, that are not very
reliable, but can be used for organizing and planing (when
nothing else is available) can be found at Expedia
website for whole
world (quite an advantage
!!!). I used these maps for describing routes of my journeys on
Soviet (Russian) military maps
are still best for many countries in the world
(where "friendly" governments once allowed Russians to make them),
but they are hard to get. I've seen them in different scales
from 1:100 000 to 1:1 000 000. To my surprise, about half of the
world is covered
e.g. Ethiopia, Sudan etc. Although these maps are sometimes
more than 30 years old for foreign countries, they are
often the best what exists (especially
for trekking - mountains
don't change in short time). Even local governments/armies still
use them. Several possibilities to get them outside
Russia are listed below. I currently don't know where to
get a complete coverage in Russia and I welcome any
information about it.
- Some www map shops
(such as OMNI
map or East
) sell Soviet military maps, but prices are
very high, e.g. 50-100 USD for one map sheet.
- Various University of California libraries
hold various military maps covering whole ex-USSR
territory plus many other countries . Although they
are not much willing to provide copies (copyright business etc.),
if you live in USA and especially if you are from the academic
community, you can try to get a copy for a
small fee (10 USD for a color copy of 1 map sheet from
UCSB). Try to contact individual libraries, some emails could be found easily on their pages. Some areas
are even in digital format e.g. Caucasus area (superb 1:100 000 maps of
Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan !!!).
sheet coverage maps from some areas on their page, but not for
e.g. Russia - you look at see sheet coverage of
Russia. Don't forget to look to the lower right corner
of these quite large images, where you can find numbers of individual sheet
according to map scale.
- Many maps digitized from private
collections (including my, I don't
have so much space here)
or downloaded from various internet sources can be found at Czech map server .
The main focus is on ex-USSR area, because many Czechs
travel there and bring maps from there.
If Soviet military maps
are not good for you or you can't get them, you can check
internet map shops for anything other. The last options always
remains - all world is covered by generally accessible
Tactical Pilotage Charts (TPC) in scale 1:500 000.
Look at the coverage for eastern Russia for example. These can be bought quite
cheaply (about 7 USD per sheet) at OMNI map
webshop. Although the scale is
not good for trekking, better something than nothing.