This map can be found at the playrustwiki, and I use it because it is the easiest for my explanation of the areas. I did not make this map, I only use it in my commentary. All credits are given to the creators and the wiki it is located on.
Play Rust Wiki Page: http://playrustwiki.com/wiki/File:LemusHD_Remade_Rust_Map.jpeg
Another map that should be noted, though I don't agree with the naming convention, is Rustmap.net.
Back to the Guide Menu.
When first logging into a server or when respawning without a sleeping bag or base, you will be placed at a random location on the map. The spawn locations are restrained to areas where resources can be found. For a first time player, you may be lost quickly. Your best option is to log into an empty community server, get some food, and roam the land during the day using the map as a guide. Find the road and coordinate the landmarks then explore.
Most players take a few options as to where to plant their base, or initial base. Here are some things to consider.
1. Box loot: Loot from boxes inside buildings.
The hanger area in the bottom left portion of the map is great for box loot. Starting out, you can suicide until you respawn near this area and loot the boxes for possible food and weapons to get you started. Also the Rad-Town is a slight risk but still pretty good. Zombies don't spawn in the town, but can wander in from the two zombie fields along the road at either sides of the town.
2. Resources: Wood, Animals and rocks/metals.
Any of the marked areas can have resource spawns in or nearby, but the safest areas depend on your server. Resource Valley North and South, tend to have low population on low to medium user servers, but they are a good hike from the nearest town for loots. Lesser Plains South is a great place to start out in a newly wiped server, but your home better be formidable if you are planning on staying there.
3. Mountain Ridges: Safety in the hills?
Mountain ridges prevent people from spotting your home from across the map, but can also be a place to hide your home. At the top of West Coast Ridge South is a fairly flat area surrounded by mountain rock where you can build a starter home, close to box loot spawns, zombie fields and resources. It is possible to build a 3 x 3 possibly 4 x 4 building in this spot. Not many people hike up that mountain because of the steepness of the climb. Relative safety can be found with a good home build and lots of walls and doors.
4. Air Drops: The only way to get explosives.
Air Drops can land anywhere west of the two Resource Valleys, South of Northern Plains, and East of West Coast Plains. But visibility will be a large point when hunting them down as they fall. It is very difficult to judge distance for newer players, without a good view. The best view is on a mountain and the best mountain to see the most is Middle Mountain Range East. Building a Base near this area, such as Lesser Plains North, will allow you to run up the mountain for a good view of the most drops. The larger percentage of drop locations appear to be in the Great Plains and Lesser Plains.
5. Badlands: Living the life of a hermit and staying as safe as possible.
The badlands are all the areas not labelled on this map, Including East Naked Man's Retreat. In these areas, the only thing you will see is grass and trees. No loot, resources or animals spawn in these areas, and very few people venture out that far besides naked newbies. They can be perfect for making a main base in relative safety. The distance from any loot really means that this should be a final base location. Go get all your research, blueprints and uncraftable items first, then build a base out here.