Updates to Palmyra and Deir Ezzor

Posted by jonnymaserati on 14 September 2009 in English (English)

After a hectic few weeks I managed to catch up a little with my mapping, utilising the data I acquired during some recent trips into the field. I've added a few more streets to Palmyra (not named yet though... need to get hold of a tourist map to start naming them) and also added some streets in Deir Ezzor, tidied up some of the existing roads and added a few roundabouts.

There's still lots of work to do on the existing maps; many of the roads in Syria have central dividers and should therefore be mapped as two one way roads, but I figure given my time constraints it's better to get the roads on the map sooner rather than going for 100% accuracy. I am splitting them at roundabouts and junctions though.

During my travels I'm now using mkgmap to get the maps onto my Garmin. Generally it works well, but there are some major issues on some of the roads, for example the highway between Damascus and Deir Ezzor via Palmyra has some continuity issues with routing. I use Potlatch for my editing which is great for small areas, but it's not very good for making large changes due to the limited zoom out capabilities, so reluctantly I'll have to start using some dedicated software.

I'm having a couple of issues using my Garmin device. First of all, seems that Garmin are now blocking access to their website from Syria, so I can't use the WebUpdate software. Also, I can get my maps into RoadTrip (on my Mac) and have no problem making a route from Damascus to Beirut, but when I do the same thing on the Garmin device it can't calculate the route and gives an error. Think it has something to do with joining two maps.

I've also upgraded some of the cycle paths north of Damascus to tracks since they're accessible by 4x4... so they now show better on the map.

I'm off to Lebanon for Eid, so will add a few hotels etc to the Beirut map and also noticed that the vineyards are not on the map, so will try and add some of these, plus the access roads. I'm suprised though since I thought the data for Lebanon would be more complete since GPS isn't banned there?

Comment from puetti on 14 September 2009 at 08:31

Hi jonnymaseratis,

have you ever tried Computerteddy's maps?
You can download them at
He provides a worldfile which should also include Syria. It can be installed to Mapsource or directly transfered to your device. This should solve your mkgmap issue.
Another good source for precompiled maps is
They also have files for Syria. (Both as .osm - and as .img)

Best regards


Comment from jonnymaserati on 14 September 2009 at 08:42


thanks for the feedback.

i use the cloudmade maps... and like i mentioned, the maps that i make with the data using mkgmap work with RoadTrip fine, but not on the device which implies to me the issue lies with the Garmin device's handling of the map data.

i have to use mkgmap to make the data so that i can use the name:en keys instead of the default name key (where it's been input) otherwise the writing is in arabic which is of no use to me.

regards... jonny

Comment from dankarran on 14 September 2009 at 10:40

Just a quick note about naming those streets you've mapped... you shouldn't use a tourist map to gather the names as that's a copyrighted source.

Comment from jonnymaserati on 14 September 2009 at 11:33


how can a street name be copyrighted?

i can understand not using the map to trace the streets, but using the map as a reference to the street name... that information is public domain. that's like saying that a reference to an M10 screw taken from a patent drawing is infringing on copyright... which is rubbish.

but then, i'm not a laywer.

also, there's no reference to copyright on the map... not that I'm tracing it.


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