Point of Beginning - March 2010 - (Page 36)

surveyinggis | BY MICHAEL L. BINGE, LS, GISP Recording land surveys Canadian style. The mandatory recordation of land surveys remains a thorny issue in some circles. In 2009, we examined how electronic plat filing works in Australia. As I was doing some follow-up work on that series, I discovered that similar systems are employed by a near neighbor of the United States: Canada. To explore this connection, I decided to focus on British Columbia, Canada’s third largest province. and various other professional researchers are allowed secondary access. Research traditionally has been done in one of the three provincial land title offices, but the vast majority of records are now online. From Paper to PDFs Though the first electronic filing did not occur until 2006, the process began much earlier. The plan to convert paper records into a digital format was first introduced in 1987. About 450,000 plans were converted from microfilm images with the first available for viewing by 1988. From there, a series of modernization programs were instituted ultimately leading to the creation of the LTSA. The legislative changes resulting in the formation of the LTSA permitted plans to be submitted as PDF images. No electronic signatures are required on the plan itself. A set of “off the plan” signatures was adopted in lieu of electronic signatures. The electronic filing system (EFS) is accessed through secure accounts on BC OnLine, the province’s Web site for electronic government services. After each plan is submitted, it is reviewed for completeness. No geometric checks are included in that review. Before the LTSA was created, survey and title issues were not even handled in the same agencies. The Land Titles in British Columbia At 364,764 square miles (944,735 square kilometers), British Columbia is larger than every U.S. state but Alaska. About 2 million titles to property exist in British Columbia, but there are only three land title offices in the province. It’s easy to see why electronic plan filing and research are natural steps in this region. British Columbia was the first jurisdiction outside of Australia to use the Torrens system, which was first introduced in 1861. The province employs what British Columbia’s Surveyor General, Mike Thomson, calls “a modified version” of the system, which features one significant difference: The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) is an independent corporation responsible for managing the land title and survey systems for the province. That is correct—I said independent corporation. The LTSA is a unique construct that was established under British Columbia’s Land Title and Survey Authority Act and officially separated from the government on Jan. 20, 2005. It is not a title company—there are no title companies in British Columbia as Americans understand them. Title in this province is protected by the Land Title Act. The LTSA is a private corporation, but it has no shares. All revenue goes back into LTSA, and a portion of those fees then go to the British Columbia provincial government. The LTSA permits all stakeholders in matters of land title—including lawyers, notaries public, land surveyors, title search agents and government officials—primary access to title documents. Real estate agents, appraisers Michael L. Binge is a private GIS consultant, certified GIS professional and licensed land surveyor in Arizona, California and Colorado. Michael Binge outside one of three British Columbia land title offices. MARCH 2010 | Point of Beginning | www.pobonline.com http://www.pobonline.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Point of Beginning - March 2010

Point of Beginning - March 2010
Editor’s Points
Put a Lid on It
Safe Passage
Changing the Channel
‘Capturing’ the Mighty Mo
Traversing the Law
Surveying GIS
Safety Sense
New & Notable
Classified Ads
Fun & Games
Ad Index

Point of Beginning - March 2010