Some History ...
In 1959, on a train bound for Ottawa, Canada, Willis Roberts (then Director of Surveys for New Brunswick), Bill Hilborn (then professor of photogrammetry in the Faculty of Forestry), Ira Beattie (then Head, Civil Engineering Department), and Gottfried Konecny (then Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering), had a dream of a surveying engineering department at UNB. In 1960, their dream was brought to fruition with the help of Jim Dineen (then Dean of Engineering), Colin B. McKay (then President of UNB), and Archie McLaughlin (then a surveyor with the New Brunswick Lands Branch).
Surveying has been taught at UNB since the fall of 1840 when William Brydone Jack, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at what was then King's College (founded in 1785), gave lectures in surveying as part of the mathematics curriculum. In the same year that UNB was created (1859), a special three-term undergraduate course in civil engineering and surveying was initiated. The first diploma in this special course was awarded to Henry George Clopper Ketchum in June 1862. Brydone Jack (UNB President 1861-1885), was appointed to the Board of Examiners in 1874 for the examination of candidates for admission to practice land surveying in New Brunswick. In 1889, a Chair of Civil Engineering and Surveying was established, and in 1901, the first engineering building was opened. Surveying continued under the wing of civil engineering until that eventful train trip to Ottawa in 1959. Between 1960, when the surveying engineering program began as a distinct entity, and 2001, 701 Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.Sc.E.(Geomatics Engineering)), 111 Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), 175 Master of Science in Engineering (M.Sc.E.), and 64 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees have been conferred on students from over 60 countries.
Since 1960, the meaning of "surveying engineering" has undergone a radical change. Technological advances and emerging knowledge-based industries have changed the profession. Geodesy, ocean mapping, geographic information systems, precision engineering and mining surveys, satellite positioning, hydrographic surveying, and remote sensing are just some of the activities that have broadened the scope of both teaching and research in the Department. Keeping with the times and moving into the future, the Department changed its name to Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering on 1 January 1994 to better reflect the interdisciplinary spectrum of its activities.
Surveying engineering faculty must be among the most widely travelled in any field. In the last 40 years, every continent except Antarctica has been visited by most of the academics either in their capacity as educators or as researchers - and even Antarctica has been visited by one of their graduate students. The first major research projects, though, were on the North American continent:
- 1963: Gottfried Konecny, Gerhard Gloss, and the senior class of undergraduate students ventured onto the Columbia Ice Fields to do a control survey and mapping of the Athabasca Glacier.
- 1964: Northern Ellesmere Island was the destination when Konecny, Wolfgang Faig, and the senior class established initial control for the mapping of two glaciers there.
- 1965: Konecny, Adam Chrzanowski, and Gloss surveyed five Alaskan glaciers; Faig and Cliff Bacon returned to Ellesmere Island to measure the ice movement on Ward Hunt ice shelf; and Konecny, Chrzanowski, and Peter Wilson participated in the National Geographic Expedition to Mount Kennedy.
- Canadian Centre for Geodetic Engineering
- Geodetic Research Laboratory
- Geographical Engineering Group
- Ocean Mapping Group
The past 40 years of Geomatics at UNB have encompassed numerous changes. From an enrolment of 37 B.Sc.E. and 10 diploma students in 1965, the undergraduate student enrolment currently stands at 101. The graduate student complement of 10 in 1965 has increased steadily, and there are now 55 students enrolled in the M.Eng., M.Sc.E., and Ph.D. graduate programs. From six academic staff, one secretary, and a quarter of a technician in 1965, the head count in the fall of 2001 was 9 full-time faculty, 5 Professors Emeriti, one senior research associate, four research associates, and 8 technical, scientific, and administrative staff members, one Hydrographer-in-Residence, and one Executive-in-Residence. From locating and mapping glaciers in the Arctic in 1963, the Department now locates, measures, maps, and displays just about anything.
... and Some Ancient History
(collated by Richard B. Langley)
In preparation for the 150th anniversary of engineering at UNB, which took place in 2004, Richard Langley put together the highlights of surveying at UNB. We offer this chronology for your edification.
|1785||Memorialists petitioned Governor Thomas Carleton for a charter to establish an "academy or school of liberal arts and sciences."|
|1796||Plans for an observatory are mentioned.|
|1800||Charter for the College of New Brunswick granted.|
|1819||William Brydone Jack born.|
|1822||April||First "college classes" held.|
|1826||Cornerstone of Old Arts Building (now called Sir Howard Douglas Hall) laid by Lt. Gov. Sir Howard Douglas.|
|1827||December||Royal charter for King's College granted|
|1828||First (and last) three graduates of the College of New Brunswick.|
|1829||King's College and the Old Arts Building officially opened.|
|1837||The Chair of Chemistry and Natural Science and the Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy established.|
|1840||William Brydone Jack formally appointed "Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy" at King's college. Gave lectures in surveying as part of the mathematics curriculum.|
|1851||July||Brydone Jack applied for (but did not obtain) professorship of natural philosophy at the University of Toronto.|
|1853||Course in civil engineering (much of which was surveying) announced in the press.|
|1854||First lecture in civil engineering course given by McMahon Cregan.|
|1855||Longitude measurements between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Fredericton.|
|1859||Act creating a secular, provincial University of New Brunswick passed.|
|1859||Calendar announced a three-term "special undergraduate course in Civil Engineering and Surveying." Students successfully completing this course received a diploma.|
|1860||Charter for the University of New Brunswick granted.|
|1861||Brydone Jack becomes President of the University of New Brunswick.|
|1862||First diploma in the special undergraduate course awarded to Henry George Clopper Ketchum.|
|Special class in engineering and surveying formed.|
|1870||Announcement of a science course in the Calendar for 1870/71.|
|1874||Brydone Jack appointed to the Board of Examiners for the examination of candidates for admission to practice as land surveyors in New Brunswick.|
|1874||Brydone Jack became involved in testing surveyors' compasses and chains. He began a series of magnetic measurements.|
|1885||Brydone Jack retired from UNB.|
|1886||Brydone Jack died.|
|1889||Chair of civil engineering and surveying and chair of experimental science were established.|
|1900||May||Foundation stone for the engineering building laid.|
|1901||Engineering building completed and opened.|