Series GR-0370 - Papers on photo-topographical surveys

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Papers on photo-topographical surveys

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  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the series.

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  • [1932?] (Creation)
    British Columbia. Surveys Branch

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Physical description

2 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

The Surveys Branch was created as a unit of the Department of Lands in 1911. The branch took over surveying functions previously the responsibility of the Surveys Branch of the Department of Lands and Works (1871-1908). The branch was known as the Surveyor-General’s Department between 1911 and 1914, as the Surveys Branch between 1914 and 1949, as the Surveys and Mapping Service between 1949 and 1951, and as the Surveys and Mapping Branch between 1951 and 1975.

The branch was responsible for surveying Crown lands; collecting data from surveys of Crown lands done by private surveyors in support of applications for land pre-emptions, timber, mining, and water rights licenses and/or leases; compiling various types of reference maps for the use of the Department of Lands; and, providing public access to maps created by the branch.

The Surveys and Mapping Branch’s divisions were as follows:
Geographic Branch (though it was called a branch, this was a subordinate unit)

Surveys Division
Geographic Division
General Staff

Surveys Division
Geographic Division
Topographic Division

Legal Surveys Division
Geographic Division
Topographic Division
Air Surveys Division

Legal Surveys
Field Operations
Map Production Division

Chief Officers of the Surveys and Mapping Branch:
1908-1912 E.B. McKay
1912-1917 G.H. Dawson
1917-1930 J.E. Umbach
1930-1946 F.C. Green
1946-1950 N.C. Stewart
1950-1951 F.O. Morris
1951-1968 G.S. Andrews
1968-1975 A.H. Ralfs

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series consists of copies of two documents. The first is a holograph draft and typescript of paper by Alan J. Campbell, B.C.L.S., entitled "Photo-topographical control for vertical aerial photographs as used by British Columbia topographical surveys." The second is a copy of letter, 1932, from Campbell to the Surveyor General concerning photo-topographical surveys on Vancouver island [published in Sessional Papers, 1932, vol. 2, pp. 26-27].

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Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from Ministry of Environment, Herald Street vault, 1977.


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There are no access restrictions.

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Associated materials

Materials related to photo-topographical surveys:

GR-3427 and GR-3428 contain glass plate negatives for the years 1914-1949. These negatives were used by the ministry to create the prints in this series.

GR-3750 contains map indexes and registers to this series. A folio of maps, many containing annotations to indicate where photographs were taken, is available in container 932492-0001.

Detailed descriptions of each survey, as well as maps of survey locations, are contained in the annual reports of the Lands and Survey Branches catalogued at the BC Archives as NW 333.1 B862r.

See GR-1558 for additional records related to the surveys.

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General note

Accession number(s): GR-0370

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Physical storage

  • Box: 880340-2159