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



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.



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


2018 Underhill’s Chris El-Araj wins David Thompson Award

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