The Pioneers team is the team that prepares the way for other teams to follow. They are thus involved in project site selection, undertaking recces of potential sites and highlighting to others particular features of interest or potential hazardous locations. They are also pioneers in the sense of being leaders in mapping and navigation technology and vehicle set up and recovery. As a group they comprise our most experienced and best prepared outback travelers.
Once an area had been shortlisted as a possible project site, the Pioneer Team members together with other DD personnel carry out a reconnaissance of the area, some 12 months prior to project. Prior to the recce the Pioneers spend considerable time researching existing tracks on Google Earth, Virtual Earth and maps and producing a reference map of the proposed project area. They then research various club and individual blogs for other features and information which would provide a better understanding of the project areas. This information is of particular interest to the other Team Leaders in preparing their survey plans.
During a project the Pioneers:
- Recheck the main tracks at commencement of the project for changes to track conditions since the reconnaissance; trees may have fallen, sections of track washed out, areas may have been burned out, to make sure tracks are open and passable;
- Signpost main and side tracks
- Opened up tracks as required;
- Searched for named or historical features, wells and rock holes;
- Produce GPS files of all tracks, particularly new tracks for the use of other Teams.
- Assist DD project participants with vehicle break down, including fixing tyres;
- Carry extensive recovery equipment, chainsaws, MIG welder, cordless drills, grinders, reciprocating saw and puncture repair gear, and undertake rescue and recovery work as required and be a general engineering resource to the Project.
Today the use of drones is invaluable for finding tracks masked by vegetation. A GPS position is recorded and transferred to the vehicle mounted GPS; this accurate information makes searching of locations significantly easier.