The Surveys Section is working on the Township Records Revision Project (TRRP). This project will ensure new editions of township plans contain correct and updated survey information.
Until 1931, the federal government was responsible for the province’s township plans and surveys. After 1931 this became the responsibility of the Alberta government. Today, Alberta Environment and Parks’ Surveys Section administers the TRRP under the authority of Section 33(4) of Alberta’s Surveys Act.
Township records history
After Ottawa transferred the administration of township plans to Alberta, there was a long period when little updating happened. During that time, township plans were only revised or updated when new sections of land were surveyed, restorations done or when official re-surveys were conducted.
The Surveys Section has made revision of township plans a priority.
Revision of survey plans
New survey plans based on original field notes and other official records will be created. These revised survey plans will reduce:
- confusion about the land-survey system
- the cost of correcting errors
- errors in our land-survey system, strengthening its integrity
What we revise
TRRP is not used to correct survey errors from original township surveys. Many of these survey errors are discovered and documented by secondary survey plans.
Under TRRP, clerical discrepancies between township field notes and township plans are corrected.
Historical and current township plans
See revised township plans the Director of Surveys has approved since 1998, at:
- New Official Township Plans (PDF, 134 KB)
See an example of a re-survey done under TRRP, at:
- Resurvey Sections 31 and 32 Township 92-25-5 (PDF, 170 KB)
For all township plans that the Director of Surveys has approved and confirmed see:
Official TRRP plan categories
Below is a list of the main plan categories that are being investigated under TRRP. As we update and revise township plans, we also update and revise the list. This ensures you always have the most current information about the process.
Baselines and meridians
Sometimes, survey errors result in baseline and meridian lines that don’t accurately reflect how monuments are posted.
Some of the incorrect lines are officially recorded on township plans. In other cases, the inaccuracies appear in field notes and haven’t been officially recognized. We have a list of about 60 township plans where these mistakes are being addressed under TRRP.
Clerical errors, omissions or defects
Land surveyors have found clerical errors and missing information when comparing some township plans to original field notes. They have also found monumentation inconsistencies and conflicting data.
We have approximately 183 official plans from this category on our list.
When forest reserves were established, sometimes information about affected townships was removed from new plans. TRRP will restore that deleted information.
We have approximately 42 plans from this category on our list.
First Nations reserves
Some township plans do not reflect the current position of common boundaries of First Nations reserves. To update these official township plans, the following organizations need to work together:
- Geomatics Canada
- Land Administration
We do not have a list for this category. If you are researching First Nations reserves, make sure you don’t rely only on related information in township plans.
Surveyors working before 1903 had different standards for township plans. They included detailed topographic information, but much less survey information than we include today. Their plans didn’t include what monumentation was placed at corners or whether witness monuments were placed.
Without this information, many surveyors assume these plans follow the pattern of standard townships. This is not always true, so field notes have to be consulted.
We have approximately 280 townships listed in this category. Field notes for these plans are readily available, and the plans are easily identified. Therefore, there are no immediate plans to revise these townships.
Restoration/re-establishment on township, baseline and meridian plans
Some official surveys have restored lost information such as monuments and boundaries. These 68 official surveys have not yet been included in official township plans. The affected plans are included in a list of alleged deficiencies (see below).
Single-line road allowances
A single-line government road allowance in unsurveyed territory makes a township plan deficient. These plans must be replaced with an edition showing 30-metre-wide road allowances along unsurveyed section lines.
We have 21 township plans in this category on our list.
In early years, as new townships were surveyed and official plans produced, an attempt was made to review and update all other bordering townships if changes were discovered on the common boundaries. This practice was discontinued when the responsibility for township plans was transferred to Alberta in 1931.
There are also a number of redundant baseline and meridian plans that have been incorporated into township plans. There are no immediate plans to revise township plans in this category. A list of deficient township plans in this category is not available at this time.
When doing research along a township boundary, surveyors must review other bordering townships for the possibility of more up-to-date information.
Affected township plans
A list of all known township plans with alleged defects has been created. This list is indexed using the Alberta Township System (Meridian, Range, Township). It includes the names of the plans and brief descriptions of the alleged defects. The list will be updated as the deficiencies are investigated and resolved.
You can see the list at:
- List of Alberta Townships with Alleged Deficiencies (PDF, 361 KB)
- List of Alberta Townships with Alleged Deficiencies (XLSX, 26 KB)
For information about the Township Records Revision Project, contact: Edward Titanich, Lead Geomatics Specialist, Land Surveys Unit
Surveys Section, Environment and Parks
15th Floor, Oxbridge Place
9820 106 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J6
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