When you're out and about in your 4wd a set of good maps is an essential item. GPS navigation systems are great, but they can go wrong. It's always best to navigate properly with a map and use the GPS as a backup to check you're getting it right. That way you'll always be confident in what you're doing and if the GPS does fail you won't miss it much.
We like maps, and we've used a lot of them. Each map maker has something different to offer and they all contribute something to knowing where you are and what's around you. If we had to pick just one brand of maps, though, it would have to be Hema. Partly that's because of the sheer variety of maps they produce; mostly it's because of their great quality and the mass of information they contain.
Hema produce a series of regional maps that cover the whole of Australia, and we reckon these are a must for anyone who wants to get out and see the country at its best. They're highly accurate – recently they've been re-surveyed and updated with GPS data – and beautifully drawn. Getting around and knowing exactly where you are is incredibly easy, but that's not all you'll find. These maps are absolutely stuffed with extra material. As well as large-scale inset maps of interesting areas, if you look on the back you'll find notes about campsites, lists of contact phone numbers, details on where to get fuel and information about the best 4wd tracks. This is all illustrated with some outstanding photos, too. It's like a map and guide book in one.
Hema's vast range of other products includes national road atlases – including a great one for truckies – and regional atlases that expand on the maps in a handy book format. Just for 4wd enthusiasts there are plenty guides to the best trails, including a series of desert trail handbooks. They're making a lot of their mapping available digitally, too. If you enjoy the outdoors you really need Hema maps. We won't say you'll never get lost again, but you'll have no excuse.