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Dave Johnston Undergraduate Mapping Prize

This TSG prize is awarded to the best of those undergraduate mapping projects submitted each year for scrutiny during the TSG AGM. These mapping projects will normally have been submitted as part of the degree requirement in the student’s final year of the undergraduate programme. TSG welcomes diverse submissions that demonstrate the wide range of lithology, architecture and process encountered by students of geological mapping worldwide, and specifically does not wish to attract only those projects which are focussed upon structural geology and tectonics. 

As a prize awarded to celebrate undergraduate skills and achievement in geological mapping, the judges would expect to see the student’s field notebook, mapping fieldslips, a compilation ‘clean copy’ map, and the final report. Given the restraints imposed by time available at the AGM, the emphasis is placed on the first three of these, the report does however allow the judges to gauge what the student has made from his/her original observations. The judges are less concerned with the area mapped, than the quality of the data recording, mapping and interpretation of the geology examined by the student candidate.

The panel of judges (normally three) looks always for the following key criteria:
•    a sustained ability to make, and record,  high quality primary geological observations in the field.
•    that the field notes are systematic, organised and searchable, and always compatible with the 
•    that sketches and diagrams, rigorously annotated, substantiate the field notebook records;
      photography should be carefully logged and integrated with the field notes.
•    that fieldslips clearly show the observation locations, the key readings relating to geological
      structure, and, most importantly, boundaries of the mappable units identified.  
•    evidence that the student’s own observations are being tested as the work progresses.
•    a ‘clean-copy’ compilation map, fully supported by a comprehensive key, a generalised vertical
      section (GVS), and at least one vertical cross-section which illustrates the architecture of the
      region mapped.
•    evidence that the student has a clear understanding of the geology of their chosen area, logically,
      succinctly and robustly presented in the report.

As a final test, the judges might ask whether or not they could independently take a candidate map and notebook into the field to examine the geology described – a good test for any field geologists work!  

A.G. Leslie,