BC's Surveyor General oversees the province's land survey system. Land survey plans define the legal boundaries of properties and interests in land.

The LTSA's Surveyor General Division provides three core services:

1. Maintain the Integrity of BC's Cadastral Survey System

The LTSA's Surveyor General Division oversees the land survey system and works closely with the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors in maintaining cadastral (legal) survey standards. These standards are the rules that professional land surveyors must follow when they are hired by a landowner to survey a parcel of land. The rules define approved land survey methods and accuracy requirements, and specify standards for maintaining on-the-ground survey evidence, such as survey monuments.

For surveys of private land, such as those needed for a subdivision of a parcel or a strata property development, the LTSA's land title office staff examine survey plans for filing. The format of survey plans must be in compliance with applicable legislation, the General Survey Instruction Rules, and requirements of the Director of Land Titles.

In accordance with applicable legislation, the Surveyor General Division reviews all survey plans that define portions of Crown land to maintain the quality and integrity of the provincial survey fabric and to help ensure that an accurate inventory of Crown land parcels is maintained.

High quality cadastral surveys complement the integrity of the LTSA's land title system and are also critical in defining other important boundaries that the Surveyor General is responsible for, including: mine sites, oil and gas well-sites, pipeline and utility corridors, and First Nation treaty settlement areas.

To maintain BC's cadastral survey structure, the Surveyor General Division also:

  • Meets all statutory obligations of the Surveyor General, including: adjudication of natural boundary issues, designation of entities to hold statutory rights-of-way or conservation covenants; and confirming official plans for provincial parks.
  • Provides professional guidance to government agencies and land surveyors on land survey issues.
  • Works with the Federal Government and neighbouring jurisdictions to address territorial questions related to the province's boundaries.
  • Maintains the province's Integrated Survey Area program.

2. Distribution of Survey Records

The Surveyor General Division maintains the official survey plans for all parcels surveyed out of Crown land, together with historical field books and notes compiled by surveyors at the time the survey was completed.

Land surveyors today often require access to these official plans to obtain cadastral information needed to complete surveys they are preparing for clients. Land surveyors and others often require copies of these plans and field notes to determine the location of property boundaries of interest. When requests come in, Record Distribution Services staff copy existing records and provide the copies to the land surveyor electronically and in hard copy.

3. Preparation of Crown Grant Documents

The Surveyor General Division prepares and issues Crown grant documents. Crown grants are issued where the provincial government authorizes a sale of Crown land to an individual or corporation - for example, for agricultural, residential, commercial or community purposes.

Crown grant documents normally contain a sketch plan showing the location and extent of the Crown land parcel being granted, and a description of the terms and conditions of the land grant. When a Crown grant is issued, an initial title for the property is registered in the LTSA's land title register in the name of the person or organization receiving the grant. All subsequent transactions for that parcel, such as subdivisions and changes in ownership or mortgages, are registered with the LTSA's land title office.