Russian Internet firm Yandex has released a basic maps service covering Europe and the United States at its global portal Yandex.com and its Turkish version as a basis for future improvements.

Although there is still no link to the Maps section from the main Yandex.com  homepage, the service is already up and running, offering essential functions such as city/country search and route planning (available only for the US). The company promises to add more geographical services in the near future.

To predict what functions users will be offered, it’s enough to look at how Yandex Maps work in the company’s key regions – Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Services there include traffic monitoring, address search, POI, local merchants, and street-level view.

The new maps, licensed by Yandex from Navteq in early 2012 are aimed not at the local population, but mostly at travelers from Russia and Turkey, the company explained. Particularly, the names of streets and other geographic objects may be transliterated into Russian and Turkish soon.

Web developers reading this might be glad to learn that in the next few months Yandex promises to release the documentation for the Maps API at api.yandex.com.

For the moment, Russian maps and services are not included in the global version, though Yandex plans to sync them up.

Image credit: pedrosimoes7 / Flickr