Habitat for Humanity Ground Breaking

building homes, building hope…

Managing partner of Underhill Geomatics Ltd. Kamloops operation, Chris deHaan, presents at the ground breaking ceremony for Habitat for Humanity’s newest project in Kamloops, BC. This is the third such project that Underhill has donated it’s time, expertise, and energy to aid the community.


Underhill Kamloops managing partner Chris deHaan speaks at the ground breaking for Habitat for Humanity's latest project.

Underhill Kamloops managing partner Chris deHaan speaks at the ground breaking for Habitat for Humanity’s latest project.

Chris deHaan with the Watson and Harris families at the Habitat for Humanity ground breaking for their new homes.

Chris deHaan with the Watson and Harris families at the Habitat for Humanity ground breaking for their new homes.


Underhill Receives Prestigious David Thompson Award

Underhill is honoured to have received the 2017 David Thompson National Geomatics Award in the category of “Innovation in Cadastral Surveying” and to have been the runner-up in the category of “Innovative Non-legal Survey”. According to the David Thompson awards website:

“The David Thompson National Geomatics Awards were created to honour the innovation, dedication and creativity of professional surveyors in Canada.

The program is presented by Professional Surveyors Canada and the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors to celebrate professional excellence in the field of geomatics. Named after David Thompson, an explorer and surveyor who almost single-handedly mapped Canada’s vast, unknown interior 200 years ago, these awards represent the pinnacle of work.”

The awards are given out each year at the National Surveyors Conference.


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Winner of the David Thomson Award for Innovation in Cadastral Surveying – Christopher de Haan, CLS, BCLS | Lorelei Smith, BSc, AScT Poster – Survey of the Limit of the High Tide of Theodosia Inlet


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Runner-up for the David Thompson Award for Innovative Non-legal Survey – G.C. (Carl) Friesen, CLS, BCLS, P.Eng., FEC | Eric Bardin, MSc Geomatics Poster – Eric Nielsen International Airport Obstacle Limitation Surfaces Survey


Underhill was previously shortlisted for a David Thompson Award in 2011 and ultimately named a finalist in Innovation in Geomatics, and Unusual Application in Geomatics – Christopher Raymond El-Araj, BCLS | Mark Mason, BCLS Poster – 3D Laser Scanning for the Seismic Upgrade of Science World, Vancouver

Vancouver’s Trump International Tower Grand Opening arrives amid controversy

March 1st, 2017

In 2013, Underhill & Underhill commenced the legal surveys for The Holborn Group’s Trump International Hotel & Tower®, Vancouver.

Yesterday, alternative facts and fake news arrived in Vancouver to herald the Grand Opening of the new Tower. Tweets and news stories were flying off the page in the reality challenged, post-truth world that occupies the abyss between Trump and the media. The free press (see links below) generated by the event for Holborn’s project was only slightly marred by this challenged relationship.


One CBC headline shouted, “Trump’s ’69-storey’ Vancouver tower is only 63 storeys.” Trump is well known for “inflating” the floor count of his buildings. He even claims he was the first to come up with the idea. But in the Lower Mainland of BC, this is the kind of headline that makes a BC Land Surveyor go “Hmmm? What about those floors that nobody likes? You know, like 13, or anything ending in a 4?” Those floor numbers get removed so prospective purchasers will not be confronted with their superstitions – if they have any. The removal of the 13th floor from the sequence will increase the top floor by one. Floors ending in 4 are much more numerous. In a building the height of the Trump, there would be many. Removing these floor numbers would inflate the count too.

Advising the CBC reporter of the more probable reason for the inflated Tower height resulted in further fact checking and rapid editing and revision of the story. No fake news here, no alternative facts, no truthers, no truthiness, just the truth as best as can be ascertained from the available evidence. This Hour has 22 Minutes did a bit on the floor issue. It starts at 7:52 of the linked video: S24|E19 This Hour has 22 Minutes – March 7, 2017


Below is a sampling of the news releases on February 28th, 2017, from around the World. Despite Donald Trump Jr.’s opening comment at the press conference,

“I’d like to thank the press,” he said before quickly adding: “Just kidding. Good to see you here. I’m shocked. I’m absolutely shocked.”,

they did manage to invite all the press they could. The links below are a sampling of what effect this had.


“There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” – Brendan Behan


Trump’s ’69-storey’ Vancouver tower is only 63 storeys – CBC

Protests, ‘alternative facts’ accompany Trump Tower opening – CTV News

The Trump Tower that drew the city’s ire to open today in diverse Vancouver – The Financial Post | Bloomberg News

Trump Tower opens in Vancouver amid protests, with Trump brothers and Tiffany Trump on hand – The Georgia Straight

At Vancouver’s Trump Tower grand opening, two worlds collide – Global News

Vancouver politicians to skip official Trump Tower opening – The Globe and Mail

Trump Siblings Greeted With Protests At Vancouver Tower Opening – The Huffington Post | CP

‘It’s got bad karma’: Vancouver politicians snub Trump tower opening celebrated by Trump sons – The National Post | Bloomberg News

Protests erupt at Vancouver’s Trump Tower ahead of grand opening – The Toronto Star

Vancouver Trump tower: Protesters greet U.S. president’s sons at hotel opening – The Vancouver Sun


Trump sons open newest hotel in Vancouver – ABC News Go | AP

Amid protests, Trump’s sons open hotel in Vancouver – CBS News | AP

Ethics concerns shadow new Trump hotel in Vancouver – CNN | Money VIDEO

Protests expected as Trump opens newest hotel in Vancouver – Fox News | AP

A Trump tower is opening in Vancouver, and not everyone in town is happy about it – LA Times

Trump Sons Face Protesters at Opening of Vancouver Hotel – NBC News | AP

Malaysian Tycoon Stresses Over Vancouver Project With Trump – New York Times | The Associated Press

Chilly welcome for new Trump Tower in Vancouver – USA Today | AP

‘It’s got bad karma’: Vancouver officials shun Trump-branded hotel grand opening – The Washington Post


A cool welcome for Vancouver Trump Tower’s grand opening – The BBC

Tycoon who partnered with Trump for Canada tower deal said he was ‘terrified’ and felt ‘trapped’ when Trump entered politics – as Don Jr. and Eric jet to first overseas hotel opening since their dad got elected – The Daily Mail | AP

Vancouver up in arms as Trump family launches high-rise tower – The Guardian


Protests held as Trump family opens new hotel in Vancouver – The Jerusalem Post | Reuters

Welcome to Vancouver: Trump sons open tower amid protests, city-hall boycott and ‘terrified’ developer – South China Morning Post | AP

George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project – High-Tech Real-time Survey Monitoring of Test Geotechnical Pile Driving a Success

July 3, 2016
Richmond/Delta, BC

Underhill Geomatics Ltd. was retained to provide real-time movement monitoring and surveying services for the George Massey Tunnel Replacement – Geotechnical pile driving project, which was completed in June 2016. Underhill sourced, installed, commissioned, and monitored the surrounding ground and structures for the duration of the project, including the tunnel itself. They delivered millimetre level accuracy in real-time – twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week for the duration of the project. The Leica GeoMoS system was used to measure, analyze, and report on any movement that potentially could occur due to the disturbance of driving five – two metre diameter piles 60 metres (180 feet) into the ground. The system automatically monitored any change in position in three dimensions and would instantly notify the stakeholders, precisely when it occurred. This is one of Undehrill’s specialized professional geomatics services, all of which can be found on their website at www.underhill.ca

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George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project website
Port of Vancouver – George Massey Tunnel Replacement

Carl Friesen Elected Councillor to the Association of Canada Land Surveyors

May, 2016
Edmonton, AB

At the 2016 National Surveyor’s Conference, in Edmonton Alberta, Underhill Vice-President, Carl Friesen, was elected to the Council of the Association of Canada Land Surveyors for the term 2016-2017. This is Carl’s second election to the Council. In 2003-2004 he served as President of the Association.

Carl Friesen, P.Eng., CLS, BCLS, FEC

Carl Friesen, P.Eng., CLS, BCLS, FEC

The Partners of Underhill & Underhill and the staff of Underhill Geomatics Ltd. congratulate Carl Friesen, P.Eng., CLS, BCLS, FEC on his being selected to the Council. Congratulations Carl!”>

Chris Cryderman Elected to the Board of Management of the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors

March, 2016
Kimberley, BC

At the 111th Annual General Meeting of the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) current Underhill President, Chris Cryderman, was elected to the Board of Management(BOM) for a two year term.

ABCLS BOM 2016.  Chris Cryderman (upper right)  doing his best "Where's Waldo" .

ABCLS BOM 2016. Chris Cryderman (upper right) doing his best “Where’s Waldo” .

The Partners of Underhill & Underhill and the staff of Underhill Geomatics Ltd. congratulate Chris Cryderman, P.Eng., CLS, BCLS on his being selected to the Board of Management. Congratulations Chris!

BC Hydro Awards Contract for Project Surveyors for Site C Clean Energy Project – UPDATED

FORT ST. JOHN – Underhill Geomatics Ltd. is pleased to announce it has been awarded a contract from BC Hydro for survey services for the Site C Clean Energy Project. The contract services include completing survey quality auditing, surveying and drafting services as required in the role of the owner’s surveyor to support site preparation and other construction activities. The initial contract is for a period of 5 months, with an option to extend.

Underhill Geomatics Ltd. is a 102 year old British Columbia and Yukon company with offices in Vancouver, Whitehorse, Kamloops and Merritt. Underhill is a full service professional land survey and geomatics engineering company with a long history of performing surveys and mapping projects for BC Hydro.

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Since the early 1950′s Underhill has completed over 1,000 projects for BC Hydro and its predecessors in the fields of surveying and mapping.

UPDATE – December 10th, 2015

WHITEHORSE, YT. The Honourable Darrell Pasloski, M.L.A., Premier of the Yukon, today called Underhill Geomatics Ltd. vice-president Carl Friesen to pass on his congratulations regarding the BC Hydro Site C Clean Energy Project survey contract award. He went on to say that Underhill will no doubt hone its skills on this project. He called from Vancouver, on route to Whitehorse, after participating in the Government of Canada’s mission to the United nations climate change conference (COP21) in Paris, France. According to Mr. Friesen, his Honour sounded quite positive regarding the outcome of that conference, indicating that a positive outcome will result from the effort of the many delegates in Paris.

In the News

CBCnews|North – Yukon’s Underhill Geomatics wins contract on B.C.’s Site C dam
CBC News: Northbeat – December 08, 2015 (Underhill Site C award at 17:37 in the broadcast)
Alaska Highway News – Site C Dam surveying contract awarded to Underhill Contracting
Energetic|city.ca – Underhill Geomatics Ltd. wins surveying contract for Site C project

The third International Conference on UAV’s in Geomatics wraps up in Toronto

September 2nd, 2015

With all the media attention devoted to UAV’s, it is easy to overlook that there are serious groups of researchers and developers from academia, government, and industry quietly working in the background striving to improve and expand the technology. The third international conference on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Geomatics (UAV-g 2015) was hosted by the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University from August 30th to September 2nd in Toronto. It brought together many of these experts from around the world.

The theme for the conference was “Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS): a disruptive technology for geomatics”. The disruptive nature of these technologies, again, has been covered quite extensively in the media. With regards to geomatics (surveying and mapping), UAV’s represent something of a revolution. They are new tools that have the potential to change entire industries and ways of doing things, in ways that we are only now starting to comprehend.

Underhill’s participation in the conference focused on the conference theme. A paper presented by Bill Mah, of Underhill’s, explains the development of a low cost UAV, from easily available and affordable parts, for the purpose of accurate aerial mapping. In decades past, the idea of building your own survey tools capable of autonomously measuring and mapping to centimetres was unheard of. The Internet, Maker Movement, Smart Phones, and other enabling technologies have contributed to making this disruption possible. It will be interesting to see what the future will bring to this field when the next UAV-g is held in Bonn, Germany in 2017.

UAV-g 2015 Facebook page

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Conference Publications (ISPRS):

Annals Volume II-1/W1
Archives Volume XL-1/W4

In the Media:
GIM International - Participants Positive about UAV-g 2015 International Conference

Partners in Success – Ground Breaking for New Homes – Tk’emlups te Secwepemc


With the support of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc (formerly the Kamloops Indian Band), a member of the Shuswap Nation, celebrates the ground breaking for four new family homes. The Department’s support included seed money so that the four Band families could apply for real mortgages with a bank in order to pay for the houses. This is quite the accomplishment given the complexities of the Indian Act. Congratulations to the families, and the Band! Underhill & Underhill, BC Land Surveyors, provided all the topographic, legal and house layout services for the project. Up to six more houses will be built later in the year in another part of the Reserve but within the same project.

Measuring for a Photographic Record at Woodward’s Atrium – UPDATED!

September 17th, 2015


Joel Nicholas Peterson provided an update on his recent photography showing at the Atrium at Woodward’s. Below is an excellent short documentary, by Nigel Berringer of Parallelogram Pictures, outlining Joel’s artistic process and his impetus for undertaking the project. Additionally, there are links below to a number of news stories about it all (CBC, Petapixel, and VANCITY bUZZ). Our original news story regarding the measurement of his potential World Record camera obscura film negative, that formed part of the exhibit, follows these updates.


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Before making way for condos, this Vancouver building became a giant camera – CBC ArtsThe World Of Leah Collins

Photographer Creates the World’s Largest Negative – PetapixelMichael Zhang

Blueprints for Observation: Vancouver artist turns building into camera (PHOTOS) – VANCITY bUZZ - Shawn O’Hara


Original Underhill Post:

July 30th, 2015

It is something to reflect on, in this era of “selfie sticks” and “photobombing”, where everyone with a cellphone also has a camera, that it has been less than 200 years since photographic images were first “captured” from reflected light. In fact, it was in 1816 that French inventor Nicéphore Niépce combined the camera obscura (pinhole camera), which had been known for millennia, with a photo sensitive paper. With it, he produced an impermanent image that disappeared quickly when brought out into the sunlight. Ten years later, in 1826, Niépce managed to make his images permanent. For a century and a half, the production of these images would be precious and expensive. It is only in the last few decades of the digital revolution that photographic images have become the commonplace disposable items they are now.

Currently showing at The Atrium at the old Woodward’s site (333 Abbott Street, in Vancouver), are images which harken back to the time of Niépce. Captured with a huge camera obscura, using a building itself as the body of the camera and an 1/8 inch hole in a wall as the pinhole, the resulting film negatives are massive. One in particular may be the largest (in surface area) single exposure film image ever made.

Joel Nicholas Peterson is the photographer. He contacted the BC Land Surveyors at Underhill to measure this negative for a submission to the Guinness Book of World Records. Measuring approximately 4 feet by 13 feet, the negative shows a view of Granville Island between buildings at Howe St. and Beach Ave. in the west end. Said Jonathan Dyke of Underhill’s, “That’s the biggest negative I’ve ever seen!”

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According to Joel, the exposure of the film image took 36 minutes. The exposure time was arrived at by trial and error. Quite a feat when you consider the focal length was 9 feet, a number more like a telescope than a camera. Given the numbers, Chris Cryderman of Underhill’s commented, “A shutter speed of 36 minutes and an aperture of f/864… These are not numbers I associate with photography. This is extreme photography.” Clearly, not something you could ever hope to capture at the end of a selfie stick!

The negatives and photos are scheduled to be on display for two weeks.