Author Archives: underhill

Underhill Remembers – The Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) Survey

Our first historical survey feature for National Indigenous History Month is “The Western Arctic Claim – The Inuvialuit Final Agreement” Survey. The land claim is also referred to as the COPE (Committee for Original Peoples’ Entitlement) Claim. In 1984, it represented the first northern comprehensive land claim agreement between the Federal Government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and the Inuvialuit and was only the second in Canada at the time. The Inuvialuit are the Western Canadian Inuit. 

Chris Cryderman remembers; “The camp pictured was the Horton River camp.  It was situated on a hill above “Underhill” Lake (we called it that because it was “U”-shaped).  The crew who were set up here were, William Robinson, Carl Friesen, myself, and pilot Steve Jaksie of Sunrise Helicopters in Inuvik.  The two tent trailers had been modified by Sunrise to be slung there by helicopter.  The pilot had to go light on fuel load, and strip down, just to get one off the ground.  The canvas work tent (dubbed the “Underhilton”) was brought in by a Twin Otter on floats, along with plywood, 2×4’s, fuel, and other camp supplies.  Fortunately the grizzlies stayed away from camp. It was warm during the day but so cold at night that I used to sleep with just my nose sticking out of my mummy bag. ”  

Initially, there was little involvement in the surveying process from the Inuvialuit people; lessons had not been learned at this time. The lack of participation was definitely an issue with the Indigenous people and that was heard. For future projects Natural Resources Canada demanded more participation from local people and businesses through the proposal process. As time passed and more contracts were let, local Indigenous involvement grew significantly providing the majority of the work done including surveying, guiding, helicopter support and maintenance, vehicle supply, hotel, food, camps, cooks, etc. As well it became a wonderful experience for some of our staff to work with, train and learn about the land and more about the Indigenous peoples themselves and their cultures.  

Read more about the facts behind historic survey and view pictures here.

Underhill’s Response to COVID-19

COVID 19 statement


Underhill would like to inform the public that we are taking steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees, our community, clients and industry colleagues during this COVID-19 crisis.

After considering this crisis and reviewing the data supplied by the BC Centre for Disease Control and other resources, we have implemented many actions company-wide. We are aware that it is nearly inevitable that some of us will be exposed, however, we are taking actions which are intended to slow and perhaps reduce the spread of this virus.

We believe these steps are responsible and assist in the health and wellness of our employees, our community, and our industry colleagues. We appreciate your help and cooperation as we implement this action plan, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

We will post any additional updates on our website as this situation evolves. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

International Women’s Day: Remembering Anne Barbara Underhill

The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

Anne Barbara Underhill

This year, the IWD theme is #EachforEqual: An equal world is an enabled world.

To celebrate women’s day we are looking back in Underhill’s 107 year history, and highlighting the daughter of one of Underhill’s founding partners:

Anne Barbara Underhill
Pioneering Woman Astrophysicist
June 12, 1920 – July 3, 2003

Anne Barbara Underhill was a Canadian astrophysicist. She was the daughter of one of Underhill’s founders Frederic Clare Underhill.

  • Anne was the only girl in a family of 5 children
  • She was awarded the Lieutenant Governors medal in high school for outstanding achievement
  • Her mother Anna (nee Creery) Underhill passed away when she was 18, and she assisted in raising her brothers while attending the University of British Columbia
  • Anne lost her twin brother Ronald in WWII in 1944
  • Ronald Island was named after Ronald Underhill. Next to Ronald Island is the Anne Islands which are named after Anne. These islands were part of the “Underhilll Island” survey done by JT Underhill and others in 1921
  • She graduated from UBC with a BA Hons in chemistry in 1942 and received her masters in physics and mathematics in 1944
  • Anne was one of 4 female researchers involved in Canada’s contribution to developing the atomic bomb (The Manhattan Project ) in Montreal
  • Anne continued study at the University of Chicago, receiving her Ph.D in 1948. Her thesis topic was multi-layered stellar atmospheres
  • She received two fellowships from the University Women of Canada
  • Anne specialized in the study of ‘early-type stars’ or ‘OB stars’, that is very hot blue stars
  • In 1970, she became the director of the new optical astronomy laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and worked for NASA in both the United States and Paris until 1977
  • Her career included work at the Copenhagen Observatory, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Harvard, Princeton and University of Utrecht (Netherlands)
  • She was awarded honorary degrees from York University in 1969 and UBC in 1992

Anne is an amazing example for women of all ages as she rose to overcome many of the female stereotypes in her industry and of the times.

References and Links


Remembering Charles David Underhill

C D Underhill

Charles David Underhill
September 16, 1922 – February 9, 2020

Charles David Underhill (Dave, or C.D.) was born in Vancouver on September 16, 1922 to parents Anne and Frederic Clare Underhill. During WWII Dave served as an officer in the Royal Canadian Artillery from 1942 though 1946. He attended the University of British Columbia and received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1949. Dave articled to his father, Clare Underhill, and was commissioned as a BCLS on April 14,1950. Dave also became a partner at Underhill at this time. In 1954, Dave was registered as a Professional Engineer in British Columbia. Dave was elected to the Board of Management of the ABCLS in 1954, and served as President in1957.

Some projects that Dave worked on during his career:

  • Wahleach Power Development – B.C. Electric Co. Survey of 3½ mile tunnel, damsite and penstock control, Legal surveys of land requirements, Precise level control. Transmission Line Rights-of-Way.
  • Cheakamus Power Development – triangulation survey control for 7 mile tunnel, topographic surveys of penstock areas, power house site, intake structures, damsites and canals, road locations to construction areas. Reservoir perimeter survey.
  • Supervision and direction of layout of underground gas lines and power ducts in City of Vancouver.
  • Supervision of Clowhom Power Development field surveys. Dam site topography, reservoir boundaries, soundings of trailrace, penstock profiles.
  • Bridge River (2) Power Development – survey control of 4 mile tunnel, penstocks and switching yard topography. Legal surveys of rights-of-way.
  • Townsite surveys, reposting residential and industrial properties, subdivisions.
  • Control surveys for undersea cables across Gulf of Georgia and other water crossing to Vancouver Island.
  • Legal Surveys of mineral claims and underground workings for Climax Molybdenum, Brenda Mines Ltd., Noranda Mines, Kennco Explorations, etc.
  • Transmission line right -of-way surveys throughout province of British Columbia, interconnecting major power stations.
    Topographic and engineering surveys for location and construct ion of major chain of micro-wave site from Jasper (Alberta) to Kamloops (B.C.) – client – CNR.
  • Harbour surveys – soundings for wharf and grain elevator developments, soundings for cable landing Vancouver Island.
    Precise layout surveys for Granville Street Bridge Piers, CPA Hanger Pile foundations and other Highway Bridges.
    Foreshore surveys for wharves, fish camps, industries, booming grounds.

In 1966 Dave became President of Underhill Engineering Co. Ltd. He was responsible for the direction of Civil Engineering projects undertaken with special emphasis on topographic and engineering surveying utilizing the latest developments in Electronic distance measurement and computing.

Dave became a retiring partner at Underhill in 1983, with full retirement in 1988, he was also designated as a Life Member of the Association of BC Land Surveyors at this time.

Our sincere condolences to Dave’s family and friends.



Two new partners named to Underhill management team

Partner Announcement

Jon Cormier, BCLS and Ryan Schuler, P.Eng., CLS to join leadership team at Underhill

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA | 02.01.2020 – The Underhill Group (Underhill) is delighted to announce the appointments of Ryan Schuler and Jon Cormier as Partners. Both individuals are contributing greatly to the growth and expansion of our company and we welcome them to the partnership team.

Speaking on behalf of the existing five partners, Managing Partner Chris El-Araj  said, “Jon and Ryan have made significant contributions to Underhill in the regions and sectors they work in. We are very pleased to welcome them into the Partnership and look forward to the future with these two exceptional individuals as part of our leadership team.”

Ryan and Jon’s partnership at Underhill is effective February 1, 2020.

Jon Cormier, Partner

John Cormier, BCLS

About Jon Cormier, BCLS

Jon Cormier is a British Columbia Land Surveyor and has been with Underhill since 2010, working out of their head office in Burnaby. He brings with him extensive experience in a broad range of survey related fields such as land development, industrial sites, construction, railway, boundary research and legal surveys.  Underhill’s Burnaby office is a high paced work environment with many demanding and complex projects; throughout his ten years at Underhill Jon has been
involved in many of these projects both large and small. His surveying career has taken him throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and parts of the United States.

Jon would like to thank all of his coworkers past and present for helping to shape him into the surveyor he is today. Special thanks to Chris Cryderman, President of Underhill and Chris El-Araj, Managing Partner for having the confidence and support to bring him into the fold.

Jon was raised in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and educated at the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Jon lives in Burnaby with his wife Jessica, who has been unwavering in her support, where they enjoy spending time in the

Ryan Schuler

Ryan Schuler, P.Eng., CLS

About Ryan Schuler, P.Eng., CLS

Ryan Schuler is a Geomatics Engineer and Canada Lands Surveyor, currently overseeing Underhill’s operations at the Site C Hydroelectric Project, Fort St. John, BC. He leads a crew of 10 staff to perform high-precision metrology surveys, laser scanning, tunneling and hydrographic surveys, among other tasks.

Ryan gained his P.Eng. and CLS designations in Yellowknife, NWT. He has extensive experience throughout the Arctic region in all three territories, in the western provinces, and has performed hydrographic surveys in the Gulf of Mexico and Trinidad. Ryan’s history with Underhill began in 2008, working alongside Sandy Cooke, for Carl Friesen, Vice President of Underhill, in Whitehorse. Since this time, Carl has been a mentor and advisor to Ryan.

In 2016, Ryan won two National David Thompson awards for a research project performed on the Ice Roads of NWT. The project involved precise, high frequency observations of ice deformation from trucking convoy traffic and other loads applied to the ice.

Ryan was raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and educated in Geomatics at Lethbridge College and the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton). He’s married to Christine Schuler, whom he met in Yellowknife. Ryan and Christine have two young boys – Graham, and Eric.

About the Underhill Group

The Underhill Group (Underhill) consists of two companies: Underhill & Underhill, a partnership of professional land surveyors and Underhill Geomatics Ltd., the surveying engineering services arm of the firm.

Since 1913 Underhill has built a long-standing reputation of excellence in serving clients throughout North America and the world. Underhill’s company philosophy is structured upon our commitment to people and for that reason we have fostered a corporate spirit that promotes education and creativity. We believe that combining experience and integrity with technology supports the essential growth necessary to service the rapidly developing needs of our clients.


To learn more about this announcement please contact:

Chris El-Araj, BCLS
Managing Partner
#301-8337 Eastlake Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 4W2
T: 604-732-3384

Download Press Release in PDF Format

Underhill Featured in Victoria Gold Partner Advertisement

Underhill was featured in Victoria Gold’s feature partner section on the Eagle Gold Mine in both the Whitehorse Star and Yukon News.

Our own Carl Friesen is quoted: “Our history at Dublin Gulch is very rewarding. We’ve worked at the Property for 50 years and our team is so pleased to be a part of Victoria’s and the Eagle Gold Mine’s momentous journey through exploration and development to construction and operations.”

Download a pdf to read the full feature!


3D Laser Scanning Lunch & Learn to be held in Yellowknife

3 d laser scanning

3D laser scanning technology is increasingly used in engineering and construction projects. Join us for a complimentary lunch and listen to Richard R. J. Johnson, 3D Specialist with Underhill explain and discuss this revolutionary technology and its future in industry.

Topics include:

  • Principles and applications of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)
  • Benefits and limitations of 3D Laser Scanning
  • What to ask for when requesting a scan (parameters to consider)
  • Deliverables options: formats, software 3D viewers and tools

Realtime Laser Scan and Cloud registration will be illustrated during this session

Session Details

Friday November 22, 2019

12:00 – 13:00

Underhill Geomatics Ltd.
Diamond Plaza
#202-5204 50th Avenue
Yellowknife, NT

Please RSVP by calling 867.669.2048 or email

Download a pdf flyer here.

Remembering William (Bill) Robinson

Bill Robinson

William (Bill) Grigor Robinson
August 23, 1928 – October 19, 2019

William Grigor Robinson P.Eng., CLS, and BCLS, age 91, of Vancouver, passed away peacefully at home in his sleep on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Bill, along with his twin sister Helen were born in Victoria to Henry and Helen Robinson on August 23, 1928.

Bill is survived by his sons Bill (Robyn), Patrick (Leigh), and Warren (Kerry); the grandchildren: Katita, Jacqueline, Sterling, Alexander, Matthew, Hunter, Isabelle, Keira, and Jamie; as well as his great-grandson Harvey. He also leaves behind numerous loving relatives, friends, and business colleagues. In 1954, Bill met and married the love of his life Barnie McAllister.

Bill attended Oak Bay High School and UBC, eventually graduating — after becoming a Bridge Champion — with his degree in Civil Engineering. He worked on many known landmarks such as the Patullo Bridge and the Deas Island Tunnel, but his love of the great outdoors pulled him to follow his real passion, Land Surveying. Bill started working for Underhill & Underhill in 1950. Over his career he cut a swath across Western Canada laying out the boundaries of Provinces and Territories, the Trans Canada Highway, as well as private lands and mine sites. Pretty much anywhere one lays a foot in this province, Bill was there first. He particularly enjoyed his business colleague Tim Koepke with whom he would stomp around the wilderness chiding each other about anything and everything. It started as mentor/mentee and evolved to professional equals and lifelong friends.

Bill worked tirelessly for his family, his business, and the professional associations in which he took pride in being a member. He was a gentleman through and through who always maintained his dignity — a wonderful, very special man.

Remembering Bruce Underhill

Frederic “Bruce” Underhill
August 20, 1947 – September 13, 2019

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Frederic Bruce Underhill.

He was born in Vancouver B.C. in 1947 to the late Clare and Helen Underhill. Bruce attended UBC and BCIT, receiving a Diploma of Technology in Surveying, and received his BCLS Commission in 1975. That same year he joined the Underhill and Underhill Surveying (which was started by his father and uncle) partnership and received his Dominion Land Surveyor (CLS) Commission in 1978. Throughout the 1970s until the mid-1980s, he worked and travelled extensively in B.C. and the Yukon. He managed and grew the firm’s Whitehorse office to be the largest Land Survey company north of 60°, guiding surveys in Whitehorse and the entire Yukon while also contributing significantly to the firm’s many Land Claim surveys across Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon.

In 1972, he married his wife Dawn, followed by the birth of his son Shawn and daughter Kelly. In 1984, he relocated his young family to the Whitehorse office and managed the office from 1986 until his retirement from the firm in 2008.

During his many years of practice, he served on several boards/committees which include Chair of the ACLS Yukon Regional Group, ACLS Council becoming President in 1993, Surface Rights Board of Yukon from 1996 to 2005 and City of Whitehorse Board of Variance from 2003 to 2005. Bruce received the Tim Keopke Award of Merit in 2018 for advancing excellence in surveying and his extraordinary contribution to the future of the profession.

Following his retirement from surveying, he served as Executive Director of Engineers Yukon from 2008 to 2012 and continued to serve as a member of several Engineers Yukon committees.

He is survived by his loving wife Dawn, son Shawn (Michelle), daughter Kelly, grandchildren Brandon, Ashton, Zander and Zoe, sister Patricia (Roy), brother David and numerous nieces and nephews.

We would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and medical staff plus the many Homecare nurses who supported us through this challenging time. We appreciate each and every one of you for your care and kindness.

Obituary reference:

ABCLS Board of Management for 2019-2020

(Left to Right):  Chris Cryderman (President), Shauna Goertzen (Vice President), Mark Mason (Member), Chad Rintoul (Chief Administrative Officer), David Swaile (Member), Dan Machon (Member), Cristin Schlossberger (Surveyor General), Roger Galibois (Past President), Neil Hain (Government Appointee), Kelly Stofer (Secretary/Registrar) (Gina Hidber (Member) is not present.)

(Left to Right): Chris Cryderman (President), Shauna Goertzen (Vice President), Mark Mason (Member), Chad Rintoul (Chief Administrative Officer), David Swaile (Member), Dan Machon (Member), Cristin Schlossberger (Surveyor General), Roger Galibois (Past President), Neil Hain (Government Appointee), Kelly Stofer (Secretary/Registrar)
(Gina Hidber (Member) is not present.)

So busy at the 114th AGM in Kelowna this March that we couldn’t get the photo ’till June. Even then we’re still missing one member (Gina). Have to try again. From the ABCLS website.