Northern Land Claims

Over 7 years, the Government undertook the establishment & survey of First Nation Lands

This project involved the location & monumentation of previously negotiated boundary corners based on topographic features: high water marks, intersections of banks, streams & rivers with other water bodies & heights of land or geographical coordinates.

A major part of the project was transferring surveying skills through the employment of local community members and working with various community groups including the Hunters and Trappers Association.

Our role

Projects were based from Fort McPherson, Kugluktuk, Contwayto Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake, Bathurst Inlet, Ellesmere Island and Griese Fjord. The total number of parcels surveyed was 175. Like all projects in the north, logistics played a large role in their success. Each project needed one or two helicopters for a four to five week period and fuel and supplies by fixed wing aircraft. Some projects needed camps to be set up to base operations from. These projects relied on GPS technology and the expertise of our land surveyors, to determine natural boundary features.

The team

The project team included Canada Land surveyors, a project manager, survey engineer, CAD and field staff comprising survey technologists and local assistants.

The technology

The project team used a combination of GPS, total stations, satellite telephones, AutoCAD, GeoLab and StarNet adjustment software, Canadian Active Control System (CACS), helicopters and fixed wing aircraft including Twin Otters, Caravans and DC 3s and DC4s.


These projects had three serious hazards: wild animals, helicopter and fixed wing utilization and the remote and isolated conditions where the surveys were located. To mitigate these, all staff were trained and licensed to carry and operate firearms. Extensive helicopter experience was essential. Team members were also selected based on their compatibility and ability to work in isolated environments.