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Creating Korean Cycle Routes Part 3 – Adding Details

Since the time of this post Google Maps & Maver Maps have been updated. Some of this information is now out of date

Welcome to Part 3 – “Adding Details” of creating Korean cycle routes. In this section I am going to cover “looking over the route, marking hill climbs, using Korean websites Daum and Naver, and adding alternate routes.

Previously on “Creating Korean Cycle Routes”

Part 1 – Choosing a Place to Ride
Part 2 – Creating a Basic Map

Looking Over the Route & Marking Hill Climbs

It”s one thing planning to do a 120km day ride on a flat road, it”s another to go into the mountains of Korea and think that 120km is a small day, so the first thing to do is look over the route using google maps to “Terrain Mode” and imagine how hard it will be by looking at the heights of any climbs along the way.


Terrain mode can be found in the top right corner of the map. See image example below.


When I say imagine, it”s just that. Who knows what the road will be like on the day, but there are some ways to make educated guesses. To do this I zoom in and look at the contour lines on the Terrain Map. At this point I am going to assume that you can read contour lines.

Dont know what contour lines are. STOP and read the following explanations.
How to Read a Topographic Map
Detailed example of contours

The most important thing to remember is that CLOSE contour lines mean STEEP terrain and OPEN contour lines mean FLAT terrain

Here is an example of a section of the route where the road obviously gets very steep.


You will see at the 600 meter mark the contours are very close together before opening near the top. The fact that the road has what looks like switch backs also suggests a steep climb. Note that this looked like a straight piece of road when zoomed out in map view.

Based on the terrain map and contours I was able to make the following assumptions:

The first section of the ride would be flat before gradually climbing up a valley and ending with a very steep climb to 700 meters (approx) before dropping down slightly and then climbing to the highest point of the ride at about 850 meters. There would then be a fun downhill to about 550 meters which would then level off to a gradual downhill along a river with a few ups and downs to 400 meters. The route would then gradually go back up the second valley back to the 700 meter point at the start of the day and back down the steep climb from the start of the day.

From previous experience I know that I climb steep roads (10% ) at around 100-150 meters in elevation every 15 minutes or about 500 meters in elevation an hour, so I could assume that the first climb of the day was going to take a couple of hours and that the time needed do the route to be adjusted to allow for this. I also made the assumption that on average over a day in the mountains my average speed is around 18km/hr so there would be a ride time of around 6 hours break time. During this process I also added makers at the tops of climbs.


Reviewing the Route Using Daum and/or Naver

If you use Google maps frequently you will know that there is a street view option which allows you to get an idea of what an area looks like from the street. Unfortunately Google has not yet done this for Korea but Naver Maps and Daum Maps have, and with just a few clicks and a whole lot of ignoring the Korean writing you too can step through your planned ride.

Naver Maps (

Using Google Maps as a reference guide you should be able to find the area on Naver maps that matches your route. To use street view in Naver click on eye view icon, top right above the zoom bar. Roads that are available will show up highlighted in blue. Drag the eye to the road that you want to view. It may take some getting used to, but with a bit of playing around it will become a powerful tool for finding things in Korea. Check out the image below for a few extra instructions.


Click to see an example of Naver Street View

Daum Maps (

Why use Daum Maps? I have found that Naver Maps doesn”t always cover all the small roads in the country, whereas Daum seems to have better coverage of rural areas. It works in a similar way to Naver – see the image below for a run down of the map


Sure this is not necessary and may be a little overkill when planning a ride assuming you can add the map to a GPS unit. But if you are making a cue sheet, some sort of instructions for others, or planning a place to meet somewhere specific, then knowing what is at an intersection or where the nearest Family Mart is can be of some real value.

I used Daum maps to find a place to park my car. See what I found here.

Adding Alternate Routes

This last step is something I do when I have plenty of time to go over the map. As I was plotting out the Gangneung course I noticed a nice big 1000 meter climb just to the right of the course. I thought I would add in this alternate route should there be extra time in the day. (marked in purple)

I also added the quickest route possible back to the start (in red) should anything go wrong or we run out of time.

The final part (part 4) covers how to convert the Google Map KML file to GPX format.

Till enjoy. Safe riding

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