• GPS Ltd. crew on first TRIM GPS mapping control project in 1987 for the DMG in Northern BC, from left: B. Wong, C. Cryderman, I. Royan, G. Fiedrich, D. Bazett. Photo Courtesy of D. Bazett

    1980-1989

    GPS Ltd. crew on first TRIM GPS mapping control project in 1987 for the DMG in Northern BC, from left: B. Wong, C. Cryderman, I. Royan, G. Fiedrich, D. Bazett. Photo Courtesy of D. Bazett

  • C.S. Cryderman laying out foundation caissons, in the CP Rail Front Yards, for Marathon Realty's Waterfront Centre Project. ca. 1988-1989, The Province, Rick Louqhran

    1980-1989

    C.S. Cryderman laying out foundation caissons, in the CP Rail Front Yards, for Marathon Realty's Waterfront Centre Project. ca. 1988-1989, The Province, Rick Louqhran

  • On the Inuvialuit Land Claim Boundary, near Horton River, NT,  C.S. Cryderman (foreground), G.C. Friesen (background), 1988

    1980-1989

    On the Inuvialuit Land Claim Boundary, near Horton River, NT, C.S. Cryderman (foreground), G.C. Friesen (background), 1988

  • C.S. Cryderman, on Slocan Lake, with WM 101 GPS receiver on Kootenay photo control survey

    1980-1989

    C.S. Cryderman, on Slocan Lake, with WM 101 GPS receiver on Kootenay photo control survey

  • Shot from top of DP World Crane 6 showing a number of buildings surveyed by Underhill, including: Canada Place, Pan Pacific Hotel, Granville Square, Waterfront Centre, and The Bentall Centre

    1980-1989

    Shot from top of DP World Crane 6 showing a number of buildings surveyed by Underhill, including: Canada Place, Pan Pacific Hotel, Granville Square, Waterfront Centre, and The Bentall Centre

  • G.C. Friesen on bridge construction for the BC Rail Tumbler Ridge Branch Line, ca. 1981-1982

    1980-1989

    G.C. Friesen on bridge construction for the BC Rail Tumbler Ridge Branch Line, ca. 1981-1982

  • I. Royan mounting special tooling for measuring nodes of the Ontario Pavillion geodesic roof, Expo '86, Vancouver

    1980-1989

    I. Royan mounting special tooling for measuring nodes of the Ontario Pavillion geodesic roof, Expo '86, Vancouver

  • From Left: I. Royan, M. Zukiwski, and S.B. Mah, in New Denver on the Kootenay GPS photo control survey, 1986, lack of satellites, and all day and night computing, made the early days of GPS a liittle stressfull

    1980-1989

    From Left: I. Royan, M. Zukiwski, and S.B. Mah, in New Denver on the Kootenay GPS photo control survey, 1986, lack of satellites, and all day and night computing, made the early days of GPS a liittle stressfull

  • J.M. Parnell, and D. Turner, at the Wang WCS/20, the Wang had 32Kb of memory, and dual 250Kb floppy drives (one for the software, and one for data), survey/plotting software (TRIAX) was developed in-house. ca. 1975-1985

    1980-1989

    J.M. Parnell, and D. Turner, at the Wang WCS/20, the Wang had 32Kb of memory, and dual 250Kb floppy drives (one for the software, and one for data), survey/plotting software (TRIAX) was developed in-house. ca. 1975-1985

  • J.M. Parnell, President, Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC, 1982

    1980-1989

    J.M. Parnell, President, Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC, 1982

  • Kelly Lanigan (right), and assistant, on the Mount Skookum mineral lease survey, YT, 1987

    1980-1989

    Kelly Lanigan (right), and assistant, on the Mount Skookum mineral lease survey, YT, 1987

  • Surveying during the construction of World Expo'86 in Vancouver

    1980-1989

    Surveying during the construction of World Expo'86 in Vancouver

  • On the TRIM GPS photo control survey in northern BC, 1987

    1980-1989

    On the TRIM GPS photo control survey in northern BC, 1987

  • Placer mining near Dawson, YT 1987

    1980-1989

    Placer mining near Dawson, YT 1987

  • The drafting department at Underhill's office on West 7th Ave., in Vancouver,  senior draftman, Stan Thorne, is on the left., ca. early 80's

    1980-1989

    The drafting department at Underhill's office on West 7th Ave., in Vancouver, senior draftman, Stan Thorne, is on the left., ca. early 80's

  • Steve Fox  on the Kootenay GPS photo control survey in 1986

    1980-1989

    Steve Fox on the Kootenay GPS photo control survey in 1986

  • Twin Otter loading up to leave att the Underhill Horton River camp, Inuvialuit Land Claim Boundary survey, 1988

    1980-1989

    Twin Otter loading up to leave att the Underhill Horton River camp, Inuvialuit Land Claim Boundary survey, 1988

  • Bill Robinson loading the helicopters, in New Denver, BC, on the 1986 Kootenay GPS photo control survey

    1980-1989

    Bill Robinson loading the helicopters, in New Denver, BC, on the 1986 Kootenay GPS photo control survey

  • W.G. Robinson and G.C. Friesen, at the Horton River camp, on the Inuvialuit Land Claim Boundary survey, 1988, the sign on the tent is the

    1980-1989

    W.G. Robinson and G.C. Friesen, at the Horton River camp, on the Inuvialuit Land Claim Boundary survey, 1988, the sign on the tent is the "Underhilton", a play on words by Sunrise Helicopters who supplied the camp

  • One of the first commercial GPS receivers, a Wild Magnavox WM 101, single frequency, it could track 6 satellites, although in 1986 you were lucky to have 4, data was stored on casette tape, used on the 1986 Kootenay control job, and the later TRIM control projects

    1980-1989

    One of the first commercial GPS receivers, a Wild Magnavox WM 101, single frequency, it could track 6 satellites, although in 1986 you were lucky to have 4, data was stored on casette tape, used on the 1986 Kootenay control job, and the later TRIM control projects

  • D. Browett and S. Fox on BC Rail tunnel control survey, ca. 1980

    1980-1989

    D. Browett and S. Fox on BC Rail tunnel control survey, ca. 1980

  • BC Rail Tumbler Ridge branch line tunnel control surveys, 1980

    1980-1989

    BC Rail Tumbler Ridge branch line tunnel control surveys, 1980

  • BC Rail Tumbler Ridge branch line tunnel control surveys, 1980

    1980-1989

    BC Rail Tumbler Ridge branch line tunnel control surveys, 1980

  • Drill Jumbo and Magic Carpet used in the drilling of the Table Tunnel,  BC Rail Project

    1980-1989

    Drill Jumbo and Magic Carpet used in the drilling of the Table Tunnel, BC Rail Project

  • Blasting of Rock for the Wolverine West portal, BC Rail project

    1980-1989

    Blasting of Rock for the Wolverine West portal, BC Rail project

  • I. Royan and D. Browett on BC Rail tunnel project, ca. 1982

    1980-1989

    I. Royan and D. Browett on BC Rail tunnel project, ca. 1982

  • Tunnel surveys on the BC Rail Tumbler Ridge branch line project, 1982

    1980-1989

    Tunnel surveys on the BC Rail Tumbler Ridge branch line project, 1982

  • C. Cryderman on the GPS Ltd. 1987 TRIM GPS photo control survey, near Alaska in northwestern BC

    1980-1989

    C. Cryderman on the GPS Ltd. 1987 TRIM GPS photo control survey, near Alaska in northwestern BC

  • B. Wong, of Matson Peck & Topolis, in Highland Helicopter Bell 206, on GPS Ltd. TRIM Photo Control survey, 1987

    1980-1989

    B. Wong, of Matson Peck & Topolis, in Highland Helicopter Bell 206, on GPS Ltd. TRIM Photo Control survey, 1987

  • Mountains of the Alaska Panhandle on GPS Ltd. 1987 TRIM GPS control survey

    1980-1989

    Mountains of the Alaska Panhandle on GPS Ltd. 1987 TRIM GPS control survey

1980–1989

The early to mid 1980s were tough times financially. With the recession of the late 70s still going on, the Company struggled to keep active. Revenue was dominated by government-funded mega projects

  • North East Coal, Tumbler Ridge
  • BC Place, Vancouver
  • Expo'86, Vancouver
  • The BC Government's TRIM Mapping Program

These projects kept Underhill and many other survey firms active during this period.

By the middle of the decade, the economy was picking up. First Nations Land Claim surveys in the North West Territories finally got underway with the first contracts for the Inuvialuit Agreement coming out in 1985. Underhill won its first Inuvialuit contract in 1986. By the end of 1989, Underhill had completed seven contracts in the Paulatuk, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk Land Selections.

BC Hydro projects included Stikine–Iskut River Development, Forrest Kerr Diversion, More Creek Dam Site, Homathko River Development, Liard River Development, and the Wahleach Tunnel Revitalization.

Major developments surveyed included the following: Discovery Parks at Simon Fraser University, Cambie Bridge, Oakridge Shopping Centre, Canada Place, Terminal City Club, BC Place, Four Bentall Centre, BC Pavilion at Expo'86, 800 Burrard St. CPR Front Yards Base Plans, Granville Island, Granville Mall, Buildings at UBC, North and South Shore of False Creek development, Bridgeport Harbour Market, BC Packers Celtic Island Development, Price Waterhouse Building, CP Station - 601 W. Cordova, Willowbrook Shopping Centre, Block 32 - Pacific Centre, Champlain Mall, Concord Pacific Developments work on BC Place Lands, Woodfibre Pulp Mill Refit, Abbotsford Airport, Cranbrook Airport, Dunsmuir Tunnel for ALRT, Port Mellon Pulp Mill, and 1000 Beach Ave.

The 1980s were also a decade of great technological change. The IBM Personal Computer was introduced in 1981. Total station survey instruments and GPS positioning also revolutionized the industry. In 1986, Underhill had one PC, shared by everyone. Four years later, the offices were full of PC's including local area networks, laser printers and high speed plotters. AutoCAD was fast becoming a viable alternative to manual drafting.

Milestones

1980

J.W. Sharpe retires from the partnership.[10]

1981

The Fort Nelson office closes and T.L. Bidniak, CLS, joins the partnership. A new office opens its doors in Hay River, NWT. D.T. Simmons retires from the partnership.

1981–1983

I.J. Royan manages surveying for the Tumbler Ridge Branch Line for the N.E. Coal Project Tumbler Ridge Branch Line. The project includes two of the longest railway tunnels in BC (Table and Wolverine) and is one of the last major mountain triangulation and trilateration control networks in BC for tunnels prior to the GPS era.

1982

J.M. Parnell is elected president of the Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC.[10]

A.T. Holmes, retired partner, is awarded Life Membership in the Association of Professional Engineers of BC. Major projects for BC Hydro are initiated including further sounding, topographic, and control work on the Stikine, Iskut and Liard River Developments; the Forrest Kerr Creek Diversion; the More Creek Dam Site; and the Homathko River Development (back to Mystery Mountain).

1983

I.J. Royan becomes a partner. W.G. Robinson is awarded the Meritorious Service Award by the Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC.[10] C.D. Underhill becomes a retiring partner for the next five years.

1985

Surveys are completed of the CP Rail Dunsmuir Tunnel for Dominion Construction as part of the Advanced Light Rapid Transit project (ALRT)—now the Expo Line—as well as the Canada (Canada Place), B.C., Ontario, and Japan Pavilions.

1986

Expo '86 is held in Vancouver. T.E. Keopke retires from the partnership and management of the Whitehorse office to join the Federal Government's Land Claim negotiation team. He figures that if negotiations go quickly, he could be back with Underhill in a couple of years. (Note: in 2011 they are still negotiating claims!) F.B. Underhill takes over management of the Whitehorse office. I.J. Royan manages first major GPS photo control survey completed in BC along Kootenay and Slocan Lakes for the Ministry of the Environment. The Vancouver office moves to 207 - 1682 West 7th Ave.

1987

Underhill, along with 11 other BC legal survey firms, forms a consortium called Geodetic Pacific Surveys Ltd (GPS Ltd.). GPS Ltd. is successful at obtaining several contracts for TRIM GPS mapping control and cadastral ties with the BC Provincial Government from 1987 to 1991.

1988

C.D. Underhill is awarded Life Membership in the Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC. C.S. Cryderman obtains his BCLS.[10]

1989

G.C. Friesen obtains his BCLS.[10] He is awarded the Gold Medal. He is a nephew of J.W. Sharpe, BCLS. G.C. Friesen and C.S. Cryderman become partners in Underhill. Underhill Geographic Systems Ltd. is incorporated. In addition to the existing Underhill & Underhill partners, UGLS brings in two new directors:

  • S.B. Mah, B.A.Sc (Eng.) (senior programmer with U&U since 1984)
  • B.K.R. Clifford, CLS.

UGLS (working with GeoTechnology International of Medina, Ohio, and Kilborn Engineering of Vancouver) wins a multimillion dollar electrical distribution data conversion contract with BC Hydro (for their GIS).

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