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G&A alumnus awarded best reference map in design competition

Cartographers from the Louisiana Geological Survey, or LGS, have won the award for Best Reference Map in the 40th annual Cartography and Geographic Information Society, or CaGIS, Map Design Competition.

The map, titled “Geologic Map of the West-Central Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa,” is described as a “cartographic masterpiece” by competition coordinator Ian Muehlenhaus. The work is noted for its aesthetic appeal and intuitive layout and has been submitted to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., for cataloging. This is the seventh map design award with which the LSU unit has been honored.

John Snead, Robert Paulsell and R. Hampton Peele of the LGS Cartographic Section designed and produced the map in collaboration with Gary Byerly, the Richard and Betty Fenton Alumni Professor of Geology & Geophysics, and Don Lowe, the Max Steineke Professor of Geology at Stanford University. The Barberton map, published in 2012 by the Geological Society of America, or GSA, depicts some of the planet’s most ancient exposed rocks and offers insight into the earliest development of landforms and life on Earth. The map is the culmination of more than 30 years of geologic fieldwork by Lowe, Byerly and Christoph Heubeck of Freie Universität Berlin.

Founded in 1934 by the Louisiana Legislature, LGS performs geoscience research to accomplish its mission of providing unbiased geological and environmental information to promote scientifically sound economic development of the energy, mineral and water resources of the state of Louisiana. The cartographic section prepares maps and geographic information systems for its own publication series, other LSU research departments and several agencies of state and federal government through sponsored research.

CaGIS, an international association of developers, researchers and educators in the field of cartography and geographic information science, publishes research at the forefront of developments in the discipline in the society’s CaGIS Journal. It sponsors an annual map design competition, open to mapmakers in the United States and Canada, to promote interest in map design and to recognize significant design advances in cartography.

The map, MCH-103, is available from the Geological Society of America at


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