F. B.(Bruce) Underhill granted the Tim Koepke Award of Merit

March 2018

Victoria, BC.


The Partners of Underhill & Underhill and the staff of Underhill Geomatics Ltd. congratulate retired partner Bruce Underhill, DLS, BCLS on being the fifth recipient of the Tim Koepke Award of Merit. This award was named after Tim and created to recognize individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors (ACLS).

Long before the actual award (say February 15th) a little soirée was held in Whitehorse.  Titled the “Ernie Cook Night & Underhill Reunion Party”  it brought together Underhillions from the early days of the Whitehorse Office, up to the present.  When everyone who nominated Bruce for the award was in attendance it was pretty hard for them not to spill the beans.  They did.  In a big way. It was a great reunion.  Thanks to Ernie Cook.  We all miss ya!

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The award was announced at the Joint Canadian Hydrographic and National Surveyors’ Conference (CHC-NSC 2018) this March in Victoria, BC. Jean-Claude Tétrault spoke at the presentation from the following:

FREDERIC BRUCE UNDERHILL, DLS #964 (1978), BCLS #528 (1975)

“Bruce” Underhill was nominated by Tim Koepke, DLS (CLS), Bob Gray, CLS and Katie Munroe, CLS to receive the Tim Koepke Award of Merit. The ACLS Council has unanimously granted the award.

FREDERIC BRUCE UNDERHILL, DLS (CLS) #964 (1978), BCLS #528 (1975) was born in Vancouver, in 1947 to the late Frederic Clare Underhill, DLS (#695)(1921), BCLS, PEng and Helen Underhill. He is brother to Charles David Underhill, PEng, BCLS and nephew to the late James Theodore Underhill, DLS (#696)(1921), BCLS, PEng.

Bruce Underhill’s career started with summer work for his father and uncle at Underhill & Underhill in the mid-1960s in the lower mainland. Southern BC transmission line R/W’s in BC’s Cariboo Country and large timber land parcels in the Duncan River valley were the flavour of the day.

In 1966 Bruce attended the University of BC in the Faculty of Science. In 1972 he transferred to BCIT and received a Diploma of Technology in Surveying.

Through the 60s and 1970 Bruce was mentored by his father, uncle, brother and other Land Surveyors in the Underhill firm, obtaining his BCLS Commission in 1975, having Wm. G. Robinson, DLS (CLS), BCLS, PEng as his Master. He joined the Underhill partnership that same year and received his DLS (CLS) Commission in 1978. All through the 70s and until the mid-1980s he travelled and worked extensively throughout BC and Yukon, managing numerous large and small projects too numerous and diverse to list. As one might expect, having been the youngest of a successful clan of Land Surveyors, he was expected to toil and succeed on the toughest and most difficult projects the firm had to offer and succeed he did. All the while his wife Dawn and his two children understood his lot and supported him in his often remote assignments.

In 1984, he relocated to the firm’s Whitehorse Office to assist in developing the firm’s northern operations, joining Tim Koepke, DLS (CLS), BCLS, PEng. In 1986, after Tim’s decision to become a land claim negotiator for the Federal Government, Bruce began managing the Whitehorse office and remained there and in that position until his retirement from the firm in 2008.

Bruce’s resident career in Whitehorse spanned 22 years, where he skillfully guided the continued building of a lasting professional survey enterprise in Yukon. He supervised many large projects involving complex legal issues and detailed logistical planning. 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.

He made many early contributions to the profession under the CLS system and in northern Canada. He is an expert on the Yukon Quartz Mining Act, early Photogrammetric project design and Land Titles Act surveys. His commitment to the highest standard of integrity, client satisfaction and innovative approaches made him a respected surveyor in Yukon.

Bruce’s contribution to the CLS system itself and the ACLS spanned an important development era of Land Surveying North of 60° and evolution of the ACLS to a self-governing profession. He served as Chair of the ACLS Yukon Regional Group numerous times since 1984. He served on the ACLS Council becoming President in 1993. And he continued to contribute to the ACLS on Committees leading up to the ACLS becoming self-governing in 1999 and beyond.

During his many years of practice Bruce served on the Surface Rights Board of Yukon from 1996 to 2005 and on the City of Whitehorse Board of Variance from 2003-2005. Upon his retirement he served as Executive Director of Engineers Yukon from 2008 to 2012 and still serves as an ex-officio member of Engineers Yukon committees.

One of Bruce Underhill’s lasting legacies is his mentorship of many prominent northern Canada Land Surveyors during his career including Carl Friesen, CLS, Bob Gray, CLS, Brian Thompson, CLS, Joe Iles, CLS, Elden Pfeiffer, CLS, Michael Kearney, CLS, Katie Munroe, CLS and Sandy Cooke, CLS. That list includes the majority of the currently practicing CLSs in the Yukon.

In the words of Tim Koepke, CLS, BCLS, PEng:

“One would be hard pressed to find a Canada Lands Surveyor who has made such an extensive and valuable contribution to the profession and to the improvement of our practices in the ever-changing modernization, designed to better serve our clients, government and the public interest.”




Underhill’s Chris El-Araj wins David Thompson Award

Victoria, BC

At the Joint Canadian Hydrographic and National Surveyors’ Conference (CHC-NSC 2018) in Victoria, BC, Chris El-Araj, BCLS of Underhill Geomatics Ltd. was awarded the 2018 David Thompson National Geomatics Award in the category of “Challenging Non Cadastral Survey Project”.  Chris was assisted in the preparation of the poster by Thael Hill, CLS, and Lorelei Smith, BSc, AScT, both also of Underhill Geomatics Ltd. The poster detailed the George Massey Tunnel Automated Survey Monitoring Program installed during bridge test pile driving. Details of the project were reported in Underhill News in July 2016. For further information see: George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project – High-Tech Real-time Survey Monitoring of Test Geotechnical Pile Driving a Success

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.


Also at the conference Christopher de Haan, CLS, BCLS gave a presentation on the Survey of Natural Boundaries Using Drones. This presentation is related to the 2017 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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Underhill Geomatics Ltd. was also a runner-up in 2017, and was shortlisted and named a finalist in 2011.

Runner-up in 2017 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 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

Ivan Royan Honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

16th March 2018

Whistler, BC

The Association of BC Land Surveyors posthumously honored retired Underhill partner Ivan J. Royan with it’s Lifetime Achievement Award, at it’s 113th Annual General Meeting in Whistler, BC. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a member who has contributed many years of valuable service to the public and dedication to the land surveying profession and who is no longer actively practicing land surveying. Ivan is the 21st BC Land Surveyor to receive the award.

The award was presented to Ivan’s widow Valarie Royan by Association President Brian Brown. Valerie was accompanied by her son Stephen Royan. Kelly Stofer, Secretary/Registrar of the Association, introduced the presentation, as follows:

“The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a member who has contributed many years of valuable service to the public and dedication to the land surveying profession.

Ivan Royan was commissioned a land surveyor in the State of Queensland, Australia in 1972. Upon marrying his wife Valerie in 1977, they moved to Vancouver where Ivan joined the firm of Underhill & Underhill, receiving his commission as a BC land surveyor in 1979.

In many surveyor’s careers, there’s a project that stands out. For Ivan, that project was the BC Rail Tumbler Ridge Branch Line which included the survey of the Table and Wolverine Tunnels between 1980 and 1983. Ivan managed seven survey crews running some 30km of rail grade, placing 16 bridges, survey control networks over two mountain ranges, and two tunnels surveyed and driven from both ends to meet in the middle. Tunnels that don’t meet in the middle can end careers, and before the breakthrough, Ivan joked that he had already bought his ticket to South America. He never needed the ticket. Both tunnels met in the middle. They were almost perfect. When it was completed, the 9.6 km Table Tunnel was the longest tunnel in the Canadian Rockies. This was the highlight of Ivan’s career, and his reward was partnership in Underhill & Underhill.

But none of this is surprising. Ivan grew up on his family’s sugar cane farm in Bundaberg, a town in Queensland, Australia. Ivan’s father worshiped the ground, and his hard work resulted in the best cane fields around. He passed this work ethic onto his children. You might say Ivan was raised to serve the land.

Ivan loved coming up with new ways to survey things, and he encouraged young surveyors to come up with new ways of solving problems. Many lunch hours in the old Underhill & Underhill Vancouver office were taken up with Ivan leading some brainstorming discussion on how something could be done different or better. He loved the back-and-forth banter. If someone came up with a crazy new idea, or contraption, Ivan was “all in”. If it fell a little short of expectations, Ivan was the one who would “will it” into working with his persistence, and his “never give up” attitude.

Ivan was instrumental in introducing British Columbia to GPS satellite positioning. It was another “new wheel” with all the problems and headaches. In 1986, Ivan’s photo control survey as part of a Flood Plain Mapping Project in the Kootenays was the first GPS survey to be delivered to the Provincial government. This would lead to more GPS photo control surveys with a newly created consortium of 12 BC land surveying firms for the TRIM Digital Mapping Program from 1987 to 1991.

First Nations Land Claim surveys in the Arctic began in 1986 and Ivan worked for around two decades in the Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut; producing hundreds of plans.

Ivan’s achievements are numerous. There aren’t many places in this Province he hasn’t surveyed. Ivan was fair, honest, loyal, hardworking, and determined. He never cut corners. There was only one way with Ivan – the right way.

In Ivan’s 38 years of practice in British Columbia, he articled 5 students – Chris Cryderman, BCLS #687, Dave Parkin, BCLS #748, Jason Whale, BCLS #764, Emily Freeman, BCLS #868 and Mark Mason, BCLS #929.
Ivan served on the Association of Canada Land Surveyors council from 2009 through 2014 where he was President for 2012-2013.

After a 4 ½ year battle with cancer, Ivan passed away in June of last year; but the evidence of his work is etched on the land in British Columbia forever. For contributing so many years of valuable service to the public and dedication to the land surveying profession, the Board posthumously presents Ivan Royan with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Val and Stephen, please come forward and accept this award on Ivan’s behalf.”

Following the presentation the Secretary continued with, “I would like to call on Chris Cryderman, President of Underhill & Underhill, to say a few words.”

Chris Cryderman: “Ivan’s achievements were numerous. There aren’t many places in this Province he hasn’t surveyed. In all his work Ivan was fair, honest, loyal, hardworking, determined. He never cut corners. There was only one way with Ivan – the right way. Failure was never an option. It was hard for him to let go of things he was passionate about, and sometimes his pride could get the better of him.

Ivan transferred his work ethic to his boys (Stephen & Anthony). Val says she got more grey hairs over the boys when they were teens than Ivan (he was out of town a lot). Getting Ivan to go on a holiday was like pulling teeth according to Val. It seemed every time they went on a holiday Ivan always seemed to have some job he had to finish at the last minute. Val would have to pick him up at work and drive him to the airport just to get away. It drove her crazy!

In 2016, Ivan finally retired. In typical Ivan style, he decided to go on his dream holiday. He went to Manitoba to help bring in the grain harvest for Val’s cousins Clare and Betty, and their son Derrick. He always dreamed of doing it. Now he had the time. His chance to combine a few thousand acres of grain. Uncle Ivan (the cancer patient) had them working around the clock till 3:30 in the morning on one field. Ivan wanted to keep going but everyone was getting tired. “Best to call it a night before someone gets hurt”, they said. Ivan begrudgingly agreed. That night — it rained. Ivan was not too pleased, “We could have finished it! That’s Ivan. Like a freight train barreling down the track – unstoppable. When there is a job to be done don’t get in his way.

A few days before he passed away Ivan said, “Surveyors have taught me a lot.” For all of the BC Land Surveyors who had the fortune to be acquainted with Ivan please know that he appreciated your counsel, and comradery, as much as you did his. He learned from you, as you learned from him. He was always excited about meeting new surveyors, and would talk about how impressed he was with their knowledge, maturity and professionalism. He loved Surveying like few others, and he loved and respected all those Surveyors who shared even a tiny part of his passion for the craft. He will be sorely missed.”

On “Frostbite and fuel shortages: The logistical challenges of a military operation in Canada’s Arctic – The National Post”

I picked up the newspaper this morning and started to read through it. Flipping the pages while drinking my morning coffee I’m faced with the headline: Frostbite and fuel shortages: The logistical challenges of a military operation in Canada’s Arctic. The photos brought back memories of the late 1990’s of working in the high arctic on the Nunavut Land Claim Surveys. My eyes hit a familiar face. Reading the caption confirms it. It’s Matthew Manik! One of our assistants on the Resolute/Eureka Nunavut boundary surveys in 1998. Now he’s a Master Corp. in the Canadian Rangers, teaching the Armed Forces how to survive in the Arctic.

The 1998 survey is now considered the highest latitude land claim survey in Canada (CLSR registry), it was an historic land claim survey. Boundaries were surveyed on Devon, Ellesmere, and Axel Heiberg Islands. Devon Island was otherworldly, the place where NASA goes to simulate Mars on Earth. Axel Heiberg Island had petrified(more like mummified and freeze-dried) 40 million year old tree stumps. Resolute was like an oasis in the middle of a frozen desert. The Polar Continental Shelf Program was there with their Arctic Logisitics Hub. They had spare everything – unheard-of most anywhere else so far north. We even borrowed one of their helicopters when ours broke down. Eureka was a lot more remote, halfway up Ellesmere Island, 1,100 Km from the North Pole. The most northerly place in Canada where you can still communicate with geosynchronous satellites over the equator. The satellite dish was pointed at the horizon. The only place further north was Alert at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, the northernmost permanently inhabited place on Earth. Too far north for satellites, their communications came via land-line from Eureka. Quite a place.

All the photos below were taken on the “night-shift”. We learned early, that if you wanted to be efficient in the land of the midnight sun, you needed to work around the clock. Two, 10 hour survey shifts per day. To do it we needed day and night shift crews, two pilots, an engineer who maintained the helicopter between shifts, a GPS processor, and a CAD draftsperson. Fuel for the A-Star was cached all over the place by Twin Otter out of Resolute.

Realizing we were not that far from the north pole, it became something of a half-joking pipe-dream to fit in an expedition to it. “If we have the money. If we have the time.”, I’d say. We were using Twin Otters out of Resolute to cache fuel for our Nunasi A-Star Helicopter. When I broached the subject with the Twin Otter contractor they said, “Yea, we’ve done it.” I was pretty exited. This could really happen! It was short lived. The logistics on the Islands were simple compared to going out and and landing on the arctic ocean at 90 degrees North. “You need two planes because you never know if you are going to have to mount a rescue mission. You’ll have to cache fuel on the ice. It needs a beacon, because the ice and your cache are moving. It’s not so simple.”, the base manager said. That’s the day we lost the pole. Getting to some places in the arctic, despite all our modern technology, is still more dream than logistical reality.

Association of BC Land Surveyors Music Video – featuring music recorded by Said the Whale

Jan 25, 2018
Sidney, BC

The Association of BC Land Surveyors (ABCLS) has launched it’s new music video on YouTube. The video was the brain child of Underhill Kamloop’s Aaron Shufletoski. Aaron also acted along-side Robert Allen, and Marissa Moore, in the video. Current Underhillion Jon Cormier, and past Underhillions Emily Freeman and Tim Erikson, all provided their time and were featured in the video, as-well-as a host of others.

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Congratulations to the Association, Aaron, and all the rest of the cast and crew for a job well done! What’s the Guinness World Record for the most number of Land Surveyors in a music video? This may be it!

Association of BC Land Surveyors – YouTube Page

Association of BC Land Surveyors – website

Said the Whale – website

ABCLS Board of Managment Elected at 113th AGM

March, 2018
Whistler, BC

At the 113th Annual General Meeting of the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) current Underhill President, Chris Cryderman, was elected by acclamation as Vice-President, to the Board of Management(BOM) for a three year term (President, and Past-president in second and third years)

(Left to Right): David Rutherford (Member), Shauna Goertzen (Member), Michael Burian (Government Appointee), Brian Brown (Past President), David Swaile (Member), Roger Galibois (President), Michael Thomson (Surveyor General), Chris Cryderman (Vice President), Kelly Stofer (Secretary/Registrar), Gina Hidber (Member), Chad Rintoul (Chief Administrative Officer)

(Left to Right): David Rutherford (Member), Shauna Goertzen (Member), Michael Burian (Government Appointee), Brian Brown (Past President), David Swaile (Member), Roger Galibois (President), Michael Thomson (Surveyor General), Chris Cryderman (Vice President), Kelly Stofer (Secretary/Registrar), Gina Hidber (Member), Chad Rintoul (Chief Administrative Officer)


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!

BIOGRAPHY – Ivan James Royan, BCLS #581, CLS #1569 – the Link Magazine

January 3rd, 2018

Author Robert Allen, BCLS(Life Member), CLS(Retired) writes a detailed biography of Underhill & Underhill partner Ivan Royan. The biography highlights his career in Land Surveying that spanned five decades, and two countries (Australia and Canada).


The Biography article can be found here: BIOGRAPHY – Ivan James Royan, BCLS #581, CLS #1569 – the Link Magazine

The Link Magazine is produced by the Office of the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors for the enjoyment of members, advertisers, and subscribers. The Link Magazine was established in 1977 as an independent forum for the distribution of informed comments on surveying and for the exchange of ideas among surveyors, students and interested parties. Publication takes place in the months of April, August, and December.

Watching the 4th Dimension – xyHt

January 3rd, 2018

“The Purpose of Time Is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once” – X.J. Kennedy

In an article in the January, 2018 on-line issue of xyHt, author Kevin Lidtka examines new tools to gather progressive 360 snapshots for documenting changes throughout a project.


The article examines various tech tools for capturing change over time as used and implemented by Underhill Geomatics Ltd. It focuses heavily on equipment such as the iSTAR Fusion camera, and Underhill’s proprietary PhotoDocufy – Coming Soon! cloud-based, web app that allows an easy private means of indexing, sharing, and viewing a projects 360 images organized by date and location on any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The article can be viewed here: Watching the 4th Dimension – xyHt – January 2018

The article is partially based on the NCTech case study featured in this Underhill News Story: NCTech Publishes Case Study on Underhill’s Construction Photo Documentation at BC Children’s & Women’s Hospital – June 14, 2017

ERRATA: The article refers to Underhill Geomatics, Inc. being “Local Land Surveyors”. This is incorrect. Underhill operates in a number of Countries and jurisdictions. Underhill Geomatics, Inc. is a US-based company with no professional affiliations. The local entity that should have been referred to in the article is Underhill & Underhill – a partnership of Land Surveyors and Engineers, founded in Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 1913. Underhill Geomatics Ltd. is wholly-owned by the partners of Underhill & Underhill, and is the entity responsible for the products/services examined in the article.

Remembering Ivan James Royan, CLS, BCLS, QLS

Ivan Royan fp2 4x5

On Saturday June 17th, 2017 a Memorial service was held for Ivan James Royan at the Hills of Peace Lutheran Church in Kamloops.  Ivan passed away on June 2nd, 2017 after a 4 1/2 year battle with cancer.  Following the service there was a reception at the Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre.  Ivan was a partner in Underhill & Underhill, and a director in Underhill Geomatics Ltd. for over 35 years.

He was born in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia on October 14th, 1949. Ivan obtained his Bachelor of Surveying degree from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane in 1972.  His working career started at the Australia Survey Office where he obtained his commission as a Queensland Land Surveyor (QLS) in 1974.  Ivan married Val in 1977 and moved to Canada, where he joined Underhill & Underhill.  In Canada Ivan was commissioned as a British Columbia Land Surveyor (BCLS) in 1979 by the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS).  In 1983 he became a partner in Underhill & Underhill.  In 1996 Ivan received his Canada Land Surveyor (CLS) commission from the Association of Canada Land Surveyors (ACLS).  He served on the ACLS council from 2009 to 2014, and was President for 2012-2013.  Ivan was instrumental in the expansion of the Underhill business. In 2002 he led the acquisition, by Underhill, of Bartell & Fiedrich Land Surveying Inc. in Kamloops.  In 2014 he reprised this roll with the  purchase of  Graham & Associates in Merritt, BC.

In all of Ivan’s career he had a reputation for being fair, honest, and hard working.  He loved surveying, and was always eager to help out younger members of the profession.  He was a comrade and mentor to many.





1980-1983 Wolverine and Table Tunnel Surveys

Land Surveyor Hands Over Reigns – Underhill News

NCTech Publishes Case Study on Underhill’s Construction Photo Documentation at BC Children’s & Women’s Hospital


Vancouver, BC

NCTech recently featured Underhill Geomatics’  360-degree Construction Photo Documentation work at the TACC (Teck Acute Care Centre) for their latest NCTech Application Notes & Case Studies.  NCTech manufactures the iSTAR 360 camera which was used on the project.   Underhill supports and organizes the Construction Photo Documentation collected with the iSTAR 360 through it’s PhotoDocufy.com website.  By the time the project is finished around 11,000 panoramic photos will have been taken and indexed into PhotoDocufy to provide a near real-time access record of the stages of construction activity at the site.

Construction of the TACC facility is a joint venture of  Balfour Beatty Construction and Ledcor for their customer Affinity Partnerships.  According to the NCTech Case Study,

“The main comment of from the users of the PhotoDocufy service is that 360-degree photography provides the context that they need. Without the omissions or impediments that are present in standard planar photography.”

  BC Children’s Hospital, BC Woman’s Hospital + Health Centre