Series - Township Plans, Registers, and Settlement Maps

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Township Plans, Registers, and Settlement Maps

General material designation

  • Cartographic material

Parallel title

Dominion Land Surveyor Plans and Registers

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1873-2015 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

90.18 m of textual records
12265 plans
5352 maps
212 ledgers

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The federal Department of the Interior was established in 1873 and had control over the land and natural resources of the Northwest Territories, including forest, water and mineral resources. When the Province of Alberta was established in 1905, the Department continued to control these resources until 1930, when the responsibility for their management was transferred to the Government of Alberta (S.C. 1930, c. 3). The Department disbanded in 1936.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Technical Division was formed in 1931. The division was responsible for technical work in the department such as creating maps, surveys and plans, and checking homesteads, leases, licenses, and other measurements relating to land use.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Surveys and Mapping Branch was formed in 1976. It existed in the Construction Division from 1976 to 1980 and in the Engineering Division from 1980 to 1981. In 1981, it was transferred to the Department of Energy and Natural Resources and called the Alberta Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

Name of creator


Administrative history

On July 7, 1981, Order-in-Council 645/81 effected a transfer of the former Surveys and Mapping Branch of Alberta Transportation to Alberta Energy and Natural Resources to form the Alberta Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

Name of creator


Administrative history

Previously part of Energy and Natural Resources, the Alberta Bureau of Surveying and Mapping became part of Forestry, Lands and Wildlife in 1986. In 1987, it was renamed the Land Information Services Division. It continued within Forestry, Lands and Wildlife until the Ministry ceased in 1993.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Surveying & Mapping Branch was formed when the Survey Control Branch and the Mapping Branch were combined in 1988. The Branch continued within Forestry, Lands and Wildlife until the Department ceased in 1993.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Provincial Mapping Branch was formed in 1992-93. It existed in the Department of Environmental Protection until 1995.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of original township plans or surveys, subdivision plans, survey diagrams, township registers, and related maps and settlement plans.

Official Township survey plans are the result of official surveys conducted as early as January 1873 and still occur today. In 1871, the first of 3 Dominion Land surveys in the prairie provinces began west of the first meridian in Manitoba, followed by surveys in 1880 and 1881. The surveyors worked on the principles of astronomy and divided the province of Alberta into a grid system composed of ranges, townships, and meridians. Ranges number approximately 1-30 running East to West from each of the three meridians, the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth while the townships (1-127) run from North to South from the International Boundary to the Northwest Territories. These plans became official if they were approved and confirmed by the Surveyor General or after 1930 by the Director of Surveys. For each township, it is possible to have numerous editions. It was the policy of the Office of the Surveyor General to create a new edition every time additional survey work was done, corrections made or updates to standard changes adopted. The scale on the maps is described in terms of chains, where 100 links = 1 chain, 1 chain = 66 feet.

Copies of these township plans were then used as a visual indexing tool for creation of homestead leases, dispositions, and other uses of the land. It allowed a government to draw the area of land and identity of the entity who leases, purchases, or otherwise makes use of the land. These were often part of large ledgers or registers that became part of this series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Direct Transfer


Language of material

    Script of material

      Location of originals

      Availability of other formats

      Restrictions on access

      Subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Subject to the Copyright Act. Permission for use required.

      Finding aids

      Some file lists available.

      Associated materials


      Further accruals are expected.

      General note

      Includes all or parts of GR1967.0125; GR1968.0238; GR1969.0044; GR1973.0482; GR1974.0032; GR1977.0253; GR1974.0283; GR1979.0183; GR1979.0250; GR1982.0114; GR1983.0058; GR1983.0085; GR1983.0182; GR1983.0421; GR1984.0103; GR1986.0059; GR1986.0416; GR1988.0439; GR1989.0083; GR2004.0214; GR2009.0564; GR2009.0565; GR2015.1630; GR2016.0183; GR2016.0636; GR2018.1311; GR2018.1312; GR2020.0233; GR1969.0212; GR1970.0449; GR1971.0099; GR1973.0013; GR1976.0390; GR1979.0236; GR1997.0041; GR1969.0063
      GR1969.0107; GR1969.0232; GR1970.0441; GR1972.0091; GR1972.0421; GR1973.0443; GR1973.0558; GR1979.0133; GR1979.0197; GR1979.0332; GR1979.0388.

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          Scope and Content based on contents of accessions.

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