You often hear land surveying mentioned during the establishment of boundaries in Canada, whether it be when selling a home or developing a property. Knowing where your legal property boundaries is very important for a variety of reasons and to several stakeholders. Property owners, developers, municipalities, as well as your legal and financial representatives may need to be aware of the property boundaries (and what is contained within them).

Legal land survey companies are the ones to call when a property boundary establishment is required. But these service providers also perform other functions not well-known to many people.

Plans Canadian land survey companies use, and the tools they use to prepare them.

Property Plans or Reports

Each province may have a different terminology for this plan.  A Real Property Report in Alberta or a Building Location Certificate in British Columbia, and other names in other provinces. This type of plan/reportconfirms boundaries and structures within them, typically used for property purchases.


Land survey companies play a vital role in splitting of a parcel of land into lots. In addition, they will also delineate drainage, streets, and easements in a subdivision. Finally, this plan can be used for subdivision approval with the municipality and titles raised according to it.

Construction Plan and As-built survey

Both plans show very similar items but are utilized at different stages of a project.  A construction plan will be the plan used by the construction company to execute the project. The as-built survey will be completed after construction and will show what was completed.  The two can be compared to look for any discrepancies.  Some municipalities require as-built plans to be submitted, depending on the local requirements.

Topographic Survey

Topographic surveys depict several aspects of a parcel of land, including terrain, hydrography, roads, buildings, fence lines, and other pertinent information.  Aerial imagery may be used to help capture this information.

Site Planning

You must present a site plan before securing a development permit. The plan utilizes a mixture of existing and proposed topographic features and proposed development. It may also show the impact that the development will have, such as drainage.  Each municipality will have different requirements for these plans.


Land survey companies need special tools to do their tasks adequately. Among the devices they use include:

  • Measuring tools — GPS and total stations
  • Data capture tools – these may include drones and 3D scanners.

Land survey companies use some of these essential tools to perform the task effectively. But there are other devices they use depending on the assignment at hand.


It is important to contact your local municipality, or professional land surveyor, to verify what their particular process entails, and which plans are required. Though many of them follow similar processes, there are often minor nuances that may affect your project timeline.

Connect with CORE Geomatics for more information on how land survey is completed.