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Palaeogeographic Atlas of Australia

Note: This metadata describes the dataset in accordance with the ANZLIC (Australia New Zealand Land Information Council) Core Metadata Guidelines Version 2.

Dataset citation

ANZLIC unique identifier: ANZCW0703003727

Title: Palaeogeographic Atlas of Australia


Custodian: Geoscience Australia

Jurisdiction: Australia



During the period 1984-1996, AGSO compiled and produced a series of Palaeogeographic atlases of Australia for the Phanerozoic Eon. The Atlases - Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Permian, Jurassic, and Cainozoic - contained maps which summarised the most important sedimentological data extracted from a wide variety of sources. Due to time and resource constraints four Periods (Devonian, Carboniferous, Triassic and Cretaceous) were not published, although data were compiled. Atlases consisted of a series of Data and Interpretation maps a Structure map, and supporting Stratigraphic Columns and text. Maps were compiled at a scale of 1:5 000 000 and digitally produced using MicroStation CAD software.

The PALAEOGEOGRAPHIC ATLAS OF AUSTRALIA dataset has resulted from the conversion of the CAD atlas maps from all ten atlases into a format compatible with GIS applications. Important CAD elements such as lithology patterns have been retained for visualisation purposes. It is envisaged that this Palaeogeographic dataset will become part of the AGCRC Australia's Geodynamic Framework project.

ANZLIC search words:


Spatial domain:

locality map

Geographic extent name: AUSTRALIA EXCLUDING EXTERNAL TERRITORIES - AUS - Australia - Australia

Geographic extent polygon: 108 -8, 156 -8, 156 -44, 108 -44, 108 -8,

Note: The format for each Geographic extent name is: Name - Identifier - Category - Jurisdiction (as appropriate) See GEN Register

Geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -8 °
South bounding latitude: -44 °
East bounding longitude: 156 °
West bounding longitude: 108 °

Data currency

Beginning date: Not Known

Ending date: 2001-06-30

Dataset status

Progress: Complete

Maintenance and update frequency: Not Known


Stored data format:
DIGITAL - ArcGIS-coverage ArcInfo coverage GDA94
Available format type:
DIGITAL - ArcGIS-coverage ArcInfo coverage GDA94

Access constraints:

Licence required.

Free Data Download

Data quality


There are ten Palaeogeographic Atlases, one for each Period in the Palaeozoic (6) and Mesozoic Eras (3), and one for the Cainozoic Era. The 'Periods' are subdivided into a number of time slices, each of which has a data and an interpretation map. A standardised approach to data compilation and interpretation was taken in order to produce a uniform map series, all using a common legend. Source Data - The atlases were compiled during the period 1984-1996. Data maps were compiled for each timeslice at a scale of 1:5 000 000, summarising the most important sedimentological data from a wide variety of sources. They include information such as well locations, areas of outcrop, subcrop (where established by drilling) and inferred subcrop, lithology, radiometric ages and mineral occurrences. Where available, individual spot thicknesses are shown. Interpretation maps, showing the spatial distribution of palaeo-environments, were compiled from these data maps, also at a scale of 1:5 000 000. Intergraph MicroStation CAD software was used to draw digital maps at a scale of 1:10 000 000. Map Projection - Simple Conic Standard Parallels 18S & 36S. Media type - digital CAD files on Unix platform and lithographic multi-coloured printed maps. The CAD digital data are not GIS attributed but were drawn to a set of standards that place data on separate levels within different thematic files. This dataset has been constructed by converting the map data from Intergraph CAD format into ArcInfo coverages using AML scripts to attribute the data. Data point (Bore) number, thickness and Time Slice attributes were manually attributed. Additional AML scripts were used to check and compare the spatial accuracy of covers. ArcInfo coverage data was plotted and checked for completeness and accuracy of replication.

Positional accuracy:

A thorough analysis of the positional accuracy of actual features (eg bores) has not been undertaken, however it is considered that most are within 5km of their true position. No statement of accuracy is made for interpreted features.

Attribute accuracy:

Data on the original atlas maps were compiled by scientists from a variety of sources: published and preliminary editions of geological standard series maps; unpublished geological maps in preparation (standard series); maps in the geological literature; unpublished geological maps in university theses; published and unpublished geological reports and papers; and unpublished reports of exploration companies, including well completion reports. Attributes in this dataset reliably reflect the information on the source atlas maps. Users should however be aware of the interpretative nature of some of the data.

Logical Consistency:

All spatial objects have been visually checked and verified. Geological polygons have been tested and topology has been checked for consistency using in-house routines and Arc/Info software. Every effort has been made to ensure that the accuracy and standards of the source maps have been maintained. Some CAD features are present for visualisation purposes and these may not be consistent with 'normal' GIS structures.


All features were originally compiled at 1:5 000 000 scale, for use at 1:10 000 000 scale. This dataset has been created from the original CAD data, using in-house routines and Arc/Info software, so as to accurately reflect the completeness of the source data.

Contact information

Contact organisation: Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) (GA)
Contact position: Manager Client Services
Mail address: Cnr Jerrabomberra Ave and Hindmarsh Dr
Mail address: GPO Box 378
Locality: Canberra
State: ACT
Country: Australia
Postcode: 2601
Telephone: 02 6249 9966
Facsimile: 02 6249 9960
Electronic mail address:

Metadata information

Metadata date: 2013-03-08

Additional metadata

Metadata reference XHTML:

Metadata reference XML:

The dataset has been subject to some independent post-production Quality Assurance. Up to 80 tests have been carried out on the dataset to ensure its integrity. Tests are carried out for data completeness, correct spatial representation, attribute accuracy, logical consistency, metadata completeness and correctness, and where appropriate for compliance with Geoscience Australia standards.

Directory Structure reflect different Period and Time slice for Data or Interpretation maps.

ie. /cain1d/ = Cainozoic - time slice 1 - data directory.

File Names for ArcInfo covers indicate individual themes

eg LITHQTZSST = lithic quartz sandstone lithology - ArcInfo cover

Author list for individual Atlases: Cainozoic; Isem, A.R., Langford, R.P., Truswell, E.M., Wilford, G.E.. Cretaceous; Yeung, M.. Jurassic; Bradshaw, M.. Triassic; Yeates, A.N.. Permian; Brakel, A.T., Totterdell, J.M.. Carboniferous; Totterdell, J.M.. Devonian; Olissoff, S., Wilford, G.E.. Silurian; Cook, P.J., Strusz, D.L., Yeates, A.N.. Ordovician; Cook, P.J., Totterdell, J.M.. Cambrian; Cook, P.J.

Authors:Langford, R.P. Wilford, G.E. Truswell, E.M. Totterdell, J.M. Yeung, M. Isem, A.R. Yeates, A.N. Bradshaw, M. Brakel, A.T. Olissoff, S. Cook, P.J. Strusz, D.L.