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Surveyor General Report to ABCLS, March 2024

By Cristin Schlossberger, BCLS

I’m happy to provide a report on the activities of the Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) from the past year. I will start with a general organization update, follow with an update on operational activities and then dive a little deeper into four projects related to my Surveyor General Vision.

Organization Updates

Over the past year, there have been no significant changes to the organizational structure of the LTSA. Al-Karim continues to serve as CEO and lead the organization following our strategic priorities of improving operational excellence, developing innovative solutions in the public interest, reinvesting and strengthening core systems and continually investing in people and capabilities.

We are in the second year of our three year business plan, which is available on the LTSA website. Financial reporting, up to the end of Quarter 3, is also posted online. Earlier this week, the annual fee increase was announced. The current and projected fees are available on the website.

Board Chair, Rob Simmons is supported by a number of board members including ABCLS nominees Bronwyn Denton who serves as Vice Chair, and BJ Houghton who was re-appointed last Spring for an additional three-year term.

An initiative the LTSA prioritized this past year was the creation of a Vault Records Plan. Our manager of records and archives, Lois, completed 22 consultation sessions involving 70 stakeholders; conducted an in-depth gap analysis of the current program; and drafted a plan for review by the Executive Committee and Board. The three-year plan reflects the importance of preservation, accessibility, and the integration of digital images across our core systems. A high-level summary of the plan will be posted on our website in April 2024.

SG Operations

Thank you to the Deputy Surveyors General in Operations for their continued excellent service in fulfilling operational responsibilities.

Over this past year, the number of applications and plans submitted to the Surveyor General remains steady.

Surveyor General Operations staff provide significant support to the provincial government related to agreements signed with First Nations across BC, in the interest of ensuring certainty in the boundaries of the lands that transfer. This work includes issuing survey instructions; reviewing and approving legal survey plans; preparing and issuing Crown grants; and offering land and survey-related guidance and advice throughout. The seminar tomorrow afternoon will provide more insight into this work.

The provincial government has prioritized the finalization and implementation of agreements with First Nations, and year over year, we have seen an approximate doubling of work requested of us by the Province. We anticipate this elevated workload will continue and potentially increase into the foreseeable future. To respond to the demand, our internal workflows have been adjusted, and we continue to monitor capacity.

This past year, two surveys were undertaken for the Alberta-BC Boundary Commission. This included a restoration survey at Miette Pass, northwest of Jasper, and an inspection survey at Tent Mountain Ridge, southeast of Sparwood. The commission will meet this Spring to plan for 2024 surveys.

Land Title Operations

After a year of declining land title transaction volumes, we are expecting a modest recovery in the fourth Quarter of this fiscal year and into the next fiscal year.

In Quarter 1, the year over year volumes for land title plans were down 9%. In Quarter 2 plan volumes were down 4% and in Quarter 3 volumes were 4% higher than last year. Overall plan volumes are down approximately 3% so far this year as compared to last year.

The land title office turnaround times are averaging 3.3 days, which is below our 4-day target. The defect rate for all transactions has consistently declined over the last 13 months, with a current defect rate of 3.8%. The defect rate for plans alone sits at 6.5%. The decrease in defects is based on significant efforts by the LTSA to ensure customers have the information they need to avoid defected submission packages and the ongoing introduction of myLTSA enhancements to improve validations, search functionality and the ability to copy data between forms.

In 2023, the LTSA introduced online services for property owners and other members of the public eliminating the need to visit a land title office in person. These services include change of name, change of mailing address or occupation; and filing claims of builders liens.

In 2023, staff from land titles and ParcelMap BC collaborated to improve the accuracy of Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) legal notations on titles. The ALR layer in ParcelMap BC was used to determine the PIDs for all parcels within the ALR and then this list was compared to land title data to uncover mismatches. The alignment work to correct these notation is now substantially complete. There were 26,000 PIDs where ALR notations were removed and 40,000 PIDs where ALR notations were added.

ParcelMap BC

The ParcelMap BC team has been preparing for an upgrade to their underlying infrastructure from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro. This is the first major change to the platform since PMBC went into production and requires changes to internal workflows. Users of PMBC search won’t notice any difference when this change is complete, however, it will support future modernization of user-facing products, as well as create efficiencies behind the scenes.  In preparing for this transition, the PMBC team focused on making these changes in December, sacrificing turn-around times for a short timeframe and moving above the 2 day target for the first time; the turnaround times returned to 1.2 days in January.

In 2023, system enhancements were released including upgrades to support vector basemaps, enhanced labelling and a survey limits filter.

The number of ParcelMap BC adopters has steadily grown to 135 local governments, regional districts, utilities, and other participating stakeholders; and the team continues to enhance the fabric for all users, including continued work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on capturing data from unregistered highway plans.


The LTSA has many initiatives underway to support our customers that align with the Director of Land Titles Vision and my Surveyor General Vision. My Vision is “ensuring certainty in the province’s legal survey structure, supporting advancements in technology and embracing modern service delivery”. I will highlight four current initiatives that support this Vision: SurveyHub, Datum Modernization, Air Space Parcels and Post-Quake Boundary Restoration.

Before I describe these initiatives in greater detail, I’d like to thank the Office of the Surveyor General staff for their expertise and ongoing efforts to keep us moving forward on the Vision.


An early iteration of SurveyHub was released into production in October and a small group of land surveyors was invited to participate in a pilot. The pilot group was expanded in December, along with a release of additional plan types. We continue to add plan types and implement fixes to the application, informed by land surveyor feedback. This spring we will be expanding the pilot to include a small group of legal professionals that will try out the plan hand-off process within SurveyHub.

SurveyHub allows for the assembly, validation, certification and submission of survey plans, forms and associated datasets. The use of survey sites introduces a geographical way to organize plans. The system is being designed to aid with efficiency, reduce defects and allow greater plan version control.  This foundational work is also setting up a system that can be enhanced in the future for other customer services for surveyors.

Thank you to the members of the Land Surveyors Advisory Task Force and all of our pilot participants for your assistance in improving SurveyHub before general release. We will be providing training to land surveyors when SurveyHub is made available for all users later this year. In addition, I invite you to stop by the LTSA booth in the exhibitor’s area for a demonstration of the current iteration of SurveyHub.

Datum Modernization

We continue to collaborate with GeoBC towards the implementation of modern GNSS compatible datums, including CGVD2013 and NATRF2022. In order to ensure an acceptable level of interoperability with the existing physically monumented network of thousands of control points, field surveys are being undertaken to allow a better known level of accuracy in the final adjusted coordinate values in MASCOT.

This multi-year project started in the Fall of 2022 with a pilot project on Vancouver Island and the target completion of field work and data processing is November 2025. Planning for surveys in Central BC has begun.

A reminder that CGVD28 remains the official vertical datum in BC for legal surveys. Some non-legal projects may require the use of CGVD2013, which is accessible through GNSS surveys but not through published coordinates of control monuments. Land surveyors should be clear what their project requirements are and be sure to clearly state the datum used in any deliverables. The ABCLS and Office of the Surveyor General prepared a practice advisory outlining best practices for working with vertical datums. It was published in April 2023, and is available on the ABCLS website.

Air Space Parcels

One of the items I identified in my Vision was to support a modernized framework for air space parcels and volumetric interests. These types of developments are becoming more and more complex and legislation and policies are not keeping up. During the Fall we met with the ABCLS Strata Property and Air Space Committee to seek feedback on challenges and opportunities related to air space surveys.

We identified specific areas that could be improved with respect to the Survey and Plan Rules, preparation of legal plans, filing of associated documents, and in legislation. This builds on known concerns and places a focus on finding solutions and driving improvements. Work on this initiative will continue next fiscal year.

We are also exploring the introduction of digital 3D representation of volumetric parcels in ParcelMap BC. We will continue to consult with land surveyors on this topic and are working with our Products Division to investigate technology solutions.

Post-Quake Boundary Restoration

This past Fall we held consultation sessions with local governments within Metro Vancouver and the Tsawwassen First Nation, to seek feedback on our post-quake boundary restoration plan. We also recently met with the Legal Professionals Advisory Committee. We received very positive feedback from all of this consultation and have used the feedback to refine our post-quake plan.

There is strong support for ensuring land surveyors have the necessary direction after a significant earthquake to re-establish boundaries efficiently and consistently to support recovery efforts.

In addition, we met with the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness to discuss how the recovery of legal boundaries fits into the Province’s Disaster Recovery Framework. We are working with the Ministry to integrate language into their framework policy to bring attention to the importance of the preservation of survey evidence during clean-up activities and value of certainty in the location of property boundaries in the recovery process.

Thank you to all the land surveyors who have supported these and other LTSA initiatives, with your time and knowledge. Your experience and input ensures our projects are successful and helps us continue to improve our systems and services.