Mongolian Confluence N44/E103 - July 17th, 2001

Mongolian Confluence N44/E103 - July 17th, 2001

I was in Mongolia to visit my daughter, who is in the US Peace Corps, teaching English in Dalandzagad, Omnigov. N 43.5 E 104.4 1469.49 Meters

We went from Dalandzagad on a three day trip around the Gobi Desert. The driver was quite interested in my GPS. A 12 year old boy that went with us, one of Jessica's students, asked what my little yellow eTrex was. I told him it was an electronic compass. He said "Oh, GPS?". That caught me off guard in an area where most people don't have phones. As we started our journey, my daughter explained about the confluence to our driver in Mongolian. Although he didn't carry a map, he said we would be passing near one of the points. He pointed to the 44/103 lines on the topo map that I had. He was intrigued with going to the "map cross" as he referred to it.

A set of pdf maps are at

Occasionally, I would check the "nearest waypoints" page on my Garmin eTrex, where I had keyed in waypoints at each of the confluences that were near our route.

Overmap.gif is an overview of a portion of Mongolia, with that day's "track" in yellow, captured with Microsoft Streets & Trips.

When we were about 25km from the confluence, the driver suggested that we were getting close... But he had no reference, other than the standard Mongolian routine of staring at the mountains in the distance. We were in fairly mountainous terrain at the time, and I had decided that I wasn't all _that_ interested in going to a confluence point. We had passed within 25-30km of other points that I considered inaccessible. But with about 5km to go, we left the mountains and were on high steppes, flat land. As we drove down the road, the GPS indicated the point was at a right angle to the road, about 2km north of the road. The driver turned and drove directly toward the spot. We overshot by a bit, and walked until the GPS arrow was flitting around. I stopped with the display at 44.00000 103.00000 and piled a few rocks together.


The closeup photo shows that the GPS drifted to 102.99995, 5.40 meters off the confluence.


The general photo shows me with arms outstretched East-West along the N44 line, with the camera pointed magnetic north. (The compass was moved between the two photos.) I'm smiling in the photo, laughing at what an odd thing it was that I was doing. Standing in the middle of nowhere, taking pictures of a pile of rocks. The Mongolians build piles of rocks as a prayer place, not at all my intent here, but an odd juxtaposition of man's natural desire to pile rocks, I suppose. Our driver contributed one of the rocks for the pile, saying it was a special rock, that a Mongolian might contribute to an Ovoo.


I didn't capture a panorama, although one could just duplicate the one picture I provided. There isn't much scenery change ;-), and it's a little far to go back for a new photo shoot.

Other photos from my trip can be found at my daughter's web page

my visit listed at

Other Confluences from around the world can be found at

Mon Jul 17 2001 13:54:18 local