Title and statement of responsibility area
Surveys Branch photo-topographical negatives
General material designation
- graphic material
- textual record
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- British Columbia. Surveys Branch
Physical description area
ca. 21,000 photographs
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
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)
Legal Surveys Division
Air Surveys Division
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
The Surveys and Mapping Branch of the Ministry of Lands and Parks transferred legal custody of these records to the BC Archives in 1991. It is not possible to determine with complete certainty the exact location and custody of these records at all times between the disestablishment of the Department of Lands, Forests and Water Resources in 1975 and transfer of the records to the BC Archives. The functions which generated these records were transferred through the following ministries between 1975 and 1991: 1975-76 Department of Environment. Surveys and Mapping Branch,
1976-80 Ministry of the Environment. Surveys and Mapping Branch,
1980-82 Ministry of Environment. Surveys and Mapping Branch,
1982-86 Ministry of Environment. Surveys and Resource Mapping Branch,
1986-88 Ministry of Environment and Parks. Surveys and Resource Mapping Program,
1988-91 Ministry of Crown Lands. Surveys and Resource Mapping Branch,
1991 Ministry of Lands and Parks. Surveys and Resource Mapping Branch
Scope and content
The series consists of glass plate photographic negatives generated by the Surveys Branch's topographical surveying parties operating in various parts of British Columbia between 1914 and 1929. These survey parties used photographs as a means of collecting data for topographical mapping done by the Geographic Division of the branch. The photographs were usually taken from the summits of hills and mountains and depict surrounding landscape.
The series is arranged into 31 sub-series, each comprised of the photographs generated by one survey party. Within each sub-series, the survey party's arrangement and original numbering of items has been retained. This arrangement and numbering is based on the original packaging of the photographs into small boxes of plates. The name of the surveyor heading each party is noted in the description of each individual sub-series.
Some plates broken.
Immediate source of acquisition
The negatives have been rehoused. Unfortunately, surveys were not always kept together sequentially. Use the survey and file list to request the containers. Use the database printout in the reference room as a back up if elements of a survey can't be found.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Selected items are available in electronic form.
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
No access restrictions.
Conservation restriction: when available, use digital copy.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Copyright belongs to the Government of British Columbia.
There are sub-series descriptions.
Survey and box list available: http://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Document/Finding_Aids_Atom/GR-3001_to_GR-3500/GR-3427.pdf
See GR-3750 for indexes to these records.
A folio of maps, many containing annotations to indicate where photographs from a number of individual surveys were taken, is available in container 932492-0001.
Detailed descriptions of each survey are contained in the annual reports of the Surveyor-General, which are catalogued in the North West Library Collection as: Report of the Survey Branch of the Department of Lands 1911-1916 (NW_526.9_B863); Annual Report of the Minister of Lands 1911-1924 (NW_333.1 B862r); Annual Report of the Lands and Survey Branches of the Department of Lands 1925-1945 (NW 333.1 B862r).
For surveys after 1929, see Topographic Division photo-topographical negatives, ID number GR-3428. For prints taken from the negatives, see photo-topographical images, ID number GR-3478.
No further accruals expected.
This series was also accessioned under the number VR199003-003.
Previously known as AAAA0066 (under parent number AAAA0068).
Accession number(s): 89-1652, 2012.111
Glass plate negatives ; 13 x 18 cm
Standard number area
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- British Columbia. Surveys Branch (Subject)