Title and statement of responsibility area
Topographic Division 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. Topographic Division
Physical description area
ca. 27,761 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 Topographic Division was created as a unit of the Surveys Branch of the Dept. of Lands in 1929. The Division’s primary responsibility was topographic surveying and providing data used for the creation of topographic maps. The Topographic Division was eliminated in 1973 during a reorganization of the Surveys and Mapping Branch. At that time, the newly created Field Operations Division was given responsibility for topographic surveying activities.
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 the 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.
Accession 2021.268 includes photographs attributed to Murray Ford of land surveying activities in the province.
Scope and content
The series consists of glass plate photographic negatives generated by the Topographical Division's surveying parties operating in various parts of British Columbia between 1930 and 1949. These survey parties used photographs as a means of collecting data for topographical mapping done by the Topographic and Geographic Divisions of the Surveys Branch and, in many cases, for vertical control of aerial survey photographs. The photographs were usually taken from the summits of hills and mountains and depict surrounding landscape. The series is arranged into 70 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 available in electronic form.
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
No access restrictions. Conservation restriction: when available, use digital copy. Copyright belongs to the Government of British Columbia.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
File list available. Selected items, and item descriptions, are available on BC Archives visual records database. http://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Document/Finding_Aids_Atom/GR-3001_to_GR-3500/GR-3428.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: Annual Report of the Lands and Survey Branches of the Department of Lands 1925-1945 (NW 333.1 B862r) and Report of the Lands, Surveys and Water Rights Branches 1946-1949 (NW 333.1 B862r)
For surveys before 1930, see Surveys Branch photo-topographical negatives, ID number GR-3427. 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.
Archives code(s): For a full list of the sub-series that form this series, and for the locations of the records, see: photo topographical survey records series description project draft finding aid. This finding aid is available in the BC Archives photo reference room.; Previously known as series AAAA0067.
Accession number(s): 89-1652, 2021.268
Glass plate negatives ; 13 x 18 cm
Standard number area
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- British Columbia. Topographic Division (Subject)