Northern Canada Power Corpo

Helicopters and leading edge aerial photography played a key role in surveying this rugged site

The initial project was to construct a steel transmission line between the Yellowknife substation facility and the Snare Dam site facilities, 145 kilometers north of Yellowknife.

The aim was to replace an existing transmission line built in the 1950s, and provide a facility to meet the needs of future power generation. 

The project area was very isolated and traversed rugged Canadian Shield interspersed with many lakes and streams. The project was also characterized with short seasons, limited access, as well as muskeg and permafrost conditions.

Our role

Our role initially was to establish the proposed center line alignment, provide photo and engineering control, mark clearing limits and provide an orthophoto and a detailed digital profile using new aerial photography. Once the clearing was complete our focus moved to the proposed location of steel structures and establishing their anchor locations.

As a result of proposed land claims in the area, we were asked to undertake legal surveys for the newly built transmission line, 130 kilometers of additional transmission lines, five dam sites, one future dam site, an air strip, 45 kilometers of road, extension to the main generating station at Yellowknife as well as mapping all transmission structures within the City of Yellowknife.

The team

The project team included a project manager, photogrametists, Canada Land surveyors, field crews, local assistants and CAD operators.

The technology

This project called for GPS, Digital Mapping, Geolab adjustment software, AutoCAD, total stations and helicopters.


Safety centered on the 100% utilization of helicopters for access and supplying equipment, materials and crew movements. As a result, detailed work plans and crew orientations were needed on an ongoing basis to deal with the daily travel dangers. Safety procedures also dealt with concerns around bears, wolves and other wild animals.