Updated: Dec 23, 2022
Hema is synonymous with their mapping content, books and maps covering all things offroad, caravanning and camping throughout Australia.
With the growing market of Australians wanting to go exploring and needing updated maps, the crew at Hema developed a program to help them collect data Australia-wide called the Alpha program. Several years ago Hema realised that collecting data from the multitude of offroad and touring tracks across Australia regularly and getting it processed was an ongoing task growing by the year.
Especially in today's world where we want our information faster by the minute, to be correct and at our fingertips 24/7. The Alpha program was approved and set up where Hema took recommendations for a group of 4wders who were passionate in their field. As a keen 4wder, dedicated camper and just about to hit the road indefinitely, I was approached to help collect data on our travels.
The data collected by myself ( and of course my beautiful partner Sally ) with the other Alpha users covers everything offroad, from touring trails, iconic desert tracks, 4wd parks or generally anywhere offroad, plus points of interest. Interesting to note that after two years and collecting over 30,000km across Australia there’s only been a 3% rise in new roads mapped.
The Alpha users are set up with an individual tablet running a unique mapping program where we can change the parameters of each track or road we drive on, according to guidelines. These include whether it's a track or road ( formed or unformed ), road surface, 4wd class, whether it's a MVO or public road plus other relevant data information. Our collected data is synced back to Hema where the team overlays our data against their previously collected data to see if there have been any significant changes. The updated data is then saved and used throughout the range of Hema’s products.
Now while the Alpha users hit their yearly goal well before the year was up, it's still an ongoing collection of data on the offroad tracks and outback dirt roads, well in excess of over 100,000 km still to be driven. The collected data must be within several metres of the original track to be used, so we rely heavily on clear skies and the satellites working correctly with a good GPS signal back to the tablet.
Currently there are nearly 15 Alpha users across Australia, where some are full-time travellers ( like us ), others are mad keen 4wders, and there are a couple of tour operators and a nomad or two. So not only are the Hema trucks out and about collecting data for their products there’s also an array of other 4wds out there doing the same, either every day, at weekends or when time permits to be within Hema’s guidelines.
Given the opportunity to help map for Hema has been a great experience while we explore and travel the back roads of Australia for myself and I’m sure the other Alpha users totally agree.