From the ALS News Vault: Alberta Land Surveyors Examinations for Admission to Study and to Practice

In this issue of “From the ALS News Vault,” here is something that was not published in ALS News but is in the ALSA archives.
 
It is published by the University of Alberta Printing Press and is undated but I believe the document is likely from the 1910s or 1920s.
 
It is interesting to read through what some of the subjects were that candidates were examined on: penmanship or forest flora. Candidates even had to bring their own transit theodolite with them and make a survey in the presence of the examiners.
 
As the ALSA, in 2024, revisits its examination process and supporting educational materials, I thought it would be fun to look back at the ways things were.
 
Brian Munday
Executive Director

Alberta Land Surveyors Examinations for Admission to Study and to Practice
 
Time and Place of Examinations
1. The examination of candidates for admission to study and of candidates for admission to practise as Alberta Land Surveyors is under the control of the University of Alberta, and the Board of Examiners is appointed by the Senate of the University. The examinations are held at the University, beginning on the fourth Monday in January of each year. Special examinations for the candidates referred to in paragraphs 5, 8, 9, and 11 are held in the spring, at the time of the final examinations of the University.
 
Admission as Articled Pupil
2. NOTICE AND FEE.
Applicants for examination previous to becoming articled pupils must give written notice and pay the required examination fee to the Registrar of the University of Alberta at least one month before the time of the examination. For the complete examination, the fee is thirty (30) dollars.
 
3. PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION.
The examination for admission as articled pupil is known as the Preliminary Examination. The list of subjects in this examination is given in the next paragraph, and the detailed description of the work in each subject will be found in paragraph 12.
 
4. SUBJECTS.
The subjects of the Preliminary Examination are as follows:
(1) Penmanship and Orthography.
(2) English Grammar.
(3) History and Geography.
(4) Arithmetic.
(5) Algebra.
(6) Plane Geometry.
(7) Practical Geometry.
(8) Plane Trigonometry.
(9) Spherical Trigonometry.
 
5. PERCENTAGE REQUIRED AND SUPPLEMENTALS.
No candidate is passed in any examination who fails to secure forty (40) per cent of the maximum. Special supplemental examinations will not be granted candidates who fail in more than two (2) subjects. The candidate must comply with the requirements as to notice and fees given in paragraph 2. The fee for each supplemental examination is five (5) dollars.
 
Admission to Practise.
6. NOTICE AND FEES.
Every person desiring to be examined as to his qualifications to be admitted as an Alberta land surveyor must give written notice thereof to the secretary of the association, must file with the secretary the required certificates or other evidence of service, and must pay the required fees at least one month before the time of the examination. A fee of two dollars is paid to the secretary of the association. The examination fee is paid to the registrar of the University; for the complete examination the fee is thirty (30) dollars.
 
7. FINAL EXAMINATION.
The examination for admission to practise is called the Final Examination. The list of subjects in this examination is given in paragraph 10, and the detailed description of the work in each subject will be found in paragraph 13.
 
8. DOMINION LAND SURVEYORS.
A Dominion land surveyor desiring to receive a commission as an Alberta land surveyor is required to submit to two examinations only, those on the Alberta Acts (paragraph 13, no. 11). Notice must be given and the fees paid as required in paragraph 6. The fee for each of the examinations is five (5) dollars.
 
9. SURVEYORS FROM OTHER PROVINCES.
A duly qualified surveyor of any of the other provinces of Canada, who desires to be registered as an Alberta land surveyor, is required to submit to the four examinations on the Dominion Lands Surveys Act and Manual and the Alberta Acts (paragraph 13; nos. 10, 11) and to the examinations in such other subjects as, in the judgment of the Board of Examiners, are not covered by his certificates. Notice must be given and the fees paid as required in paragraph 6. The fee for each of the examinations required of such candidates is five (5) dollars.
 
10. SUBJECTS.
The subjects of the Final Examination are as follows:
(1) Algebra.
(2) Plane Geometry.
(3) Solid Geometry.
(4) Plane Trigonometry.
(5) Spherical Trigonometry.
(6) Astronomy.
(7) Practical Surveying.
(8) Measurement of Areas and Subdivision of Land.
(9) Descriptions for Deeds.
(10) Dominion Lands Surveys Act and Manual.
(11) Alberta Acts.
(12) Forest Flora.
(13) Geology.
 
11. PERCENTAGE REQUIRED AND SUPPLEMENTALS.
No candidate is passed in any examination who fails to secure fifty (50) per cent of the maximum; and, in each of the four examinations on the Acts and Manual, the candidate must secure at least eighty (80) per cent. Special supplemental examinations will not be granted to candidates failing in more than two (2) subjects. The candidate must comply with the requirements as to notice and fees given in paragraph 6. The fee for each supplemental examination is five (5) dollars.
 
Details of the Preliminary Subjects
12 The details of the preliminary subjects are as follows:
 
(1) PENMANSHIP AND ORTHOGRAPHY.
A paper or dictation of about three hundred words will be given. More than ten errors will cause the rejection of the candidate.
 
(2) ENGLISH GRAMMAR.
As in any standard High School grammar.
 
(3) HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY.
Canadian history, as in Gammell, CANADIAN HISTORY.
Canadian and general geography, as in THE DOMINION SCHOOL GEOGRAPHY.
 
(4) ARITHMETIC.
Greatest common measure and least common multiple; vulgar and decimal fractions; measures of length, capacity, area, weight, time and currency; square root; interest and discount; use of logarithmic tables; mensuration, of rectilinear figures and of figures bounded by circular areas, in Knott and MacKay, PRACTICAL MATHEMATIs (Chambers), pp. 92-133.
 
(5) ALGEBRA.
Natural numbers, zero and negative numbers, rational numbers; simple equations of one, two and three unknowns; graphs; problems; factoring; highest common factor, least common multiple; equations with fractions; quadratic equations, and equations solved like quadratics; surds, indices; algebraic and graphic solutions of equations of the second degree.
Textbook: Tory and Birchard, ELEMENTS OF ALGEBRA, (Gage) or Barnard and Child, A NEW ALGEBRA, Pts. I-IV (Macmillan).
 
(6) PLANE GEOMETRY.
Euclid's ELEMENTS, Books I-IV; or the corresponding theorems and constructions of the list in the UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA CALENDAR, pages 26-32. Deductions and applications. Algebraic methods, algebraic propositions corresponding to geometrical theorems and problems.
Textbook: Todhunter and Loney, BLEMENTS OF EUCLID, (Macmillan); or Hall and Stevens, TEXTBOOK OF EUCLID's ELEMENTS, (Macmillan); or Baker, GEOMETRY FOR SCHOOLS (Gage).
 
(7) PRACTICAL GEOMETRY.
Fundamental constructions, polygons, similar figures, tangency, proportion, areas.
Textbook: McLeod, GEOMETRICAL DRAWING, (Brown, Montreal) to the end of prob. 64.
 
(8) PLANE TRIGONOMETRY.
Measures of angles and arcs; the trigonometric ratios; fundamental formulas; signs of trigonometric ratios; solution of plane triangles, right-angled and oblique; problems depending upon the foregoing.
Textbook: Granville, PLANE TRIGONOMETRY, (Ginn).
 
(9) SPHERICAL TRIGONOMETRY.
Fundamental formulas; Napier's analogies; circular parts. Solution of right-angled and quadrantal spherical triangles. Problems depending for their solution upon the foregoing.
Textbook: Granville, PLANE AND SPHERICAL TRIGONOMETRY (Ginn).
 
Details of the Final Subjects.
13. The details of the final subjects are as follows:
 
(1) ALGEBRA.
As for the Preliminary Examination with the addition of the three progressions.
Textbook: Barnard and Child, A NEW ALGEBRA, Pts. I-IV (Macmillan).
 
(2) PLANE GEOMETRY.
Euclid's ELEMENTS, Bks. I-VI with the exception of the last thirteen propositions of Book V; or the corresponding theorems and constructions of the list in the UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA CALENDAR, pages 26-32. Deductions and applications. Algebraic methods; algebraic propositions corresponding to geometrical theorems and constructions. Mensuration of plane figures bounded by straight lines or circular arcs.
Textbooks: Todhunter and Loney, ELEMENTS OF EUCLID (Macmillan), or Hall and Stevens, TEXTBOOK OF EUCLID's ELEMENTS, (Macmillan), or Baker, GEOMETRY FOR SCHOOLS (Gage); Knott and MacKay, PRACTICAL MATHEMATICS (Chambers) (pp. 92-133).
 
3. SOLID GEOMETRY.
Euclid's ELEMENTS, Book XI, or its equivalent; fundamental propositions relating to lines and planes in space, prisms and cylinders, pyramids and cones, regular and similar polyhedrons, and the sphere. The surface and the volume of these solid bodies; great and small circles on the sphere, angles and sides of spherical triangles; polar triangles.
Textbooks: Slaught and Lennes, SOLID GEOMETRY (Allyn & Bacon); Knott and MacKay, PRACTICAL MATHEMATICS (Chambers).
 
4. PLANE TRIGONOMETRY.
Measures of angles and arcs; the trigonometric ratios; fundamental formulas; signs of trigonometric ratios; trigonometric equations; graphical representation; solution of right-angled and oblique plane triangles; problems depending upon the foregoing.
Textbook: Granville, PLANE TRIGONOMETRY (Ginn).
 
5. SPHERICAL TRIGONOMETRY.
Proofs of the fundamental formulas connecting the sides and angles of a spherical triangle. The polar triangle. Deduction of the formulas for the solution of right-angled quadrantal, and oblique-angled triangles. The conditions of ambiguity of solution of spherical triangles. Solution of given triangles and of problems depending for their solution upon spherical trigonometry. Spherical excess.
Textbook: Granville, PLANE AND SPHERICAL TRIGONOMETRY (Ginn).
 
(6) ASTRONOMY. (TWO EXAMINATIONS: WRITTEN AND PRACTICAL.)
The celestial sphere: spherical co-ordinates, altitude and azimuth, declination and hour angle, declination and right ascension, celestial latitude and longitude. Co-ordinates of the observer's position. Application of spherical trigonometry to the transformations from one system to another. Solution of the astronomical triangle. Time: Sidereal and solar day; apparent and mean solar time; equation of time; astronomical and civil time; standard time; transformation of one kind of time into another. The use of the Ephemeris or Nautical Almanac. Simple interpolation and interpolation by second differences. Astronomical refraction; tables of refraction. Correction to be applied to the observed altitude of the sun, moon, or a star. Calculation of the latitude of a place from an observation of the meridian altitude of the sun or a star. Calculation of the local time and the azimuth from an observed altitude of the sun or a star. Calculation of the direction of the meridian from an observation of a circumpolar star at its greatest elongation, or at any hour angle.
 
Candidates will be expected to take these observations for time, latitude and azimuth, with an instrument in the presence of the Board.
Textbooks: Greene, SPHERICAL AND PRACTICAL ASTRONOMY, or Chauvenet, A MANUAL OF SPHERICAL AND PRACTICAL ASTRONOMY (Lippincott).
 
(7) PRACTICAL SURVEYING. (TWO EXAMINATIONS: ORAL AND FIELD.)
Each candidate is expected to furnish the Board at the time of his examination with a plan and field notes made by himself of a survey (not necessarily made by himself) of a piece of land having not less than five sides, and containing water, hills and other topography. A tracing will not be accepted. These notes and the plan will be retained by the Board.
 
He is further expected to bring with him to the examination a transit theodolite reading at least to minutes.
 
The Board will examine him as to the adjustments and use of the instruments. The candidate will be required to make a survey on the ground in the presence of the examiners, keeping proper field-notes, and will be required to plot the same. He shall also take an astronomical observation in the presence of the examiners and calculate his time and azimuth therefrom.
 
(8) MEASUREMENT OF AREAS AND SUBDIVISION OF LAND.
Problems on the partition of land, the rectification of boundaries, and the measurement of areas. Measurement of areas by means of latitudes and departures. Balancing the traverse. Supplying lost distances and bearings.
Textbook: Johnson, THEORY AND PRACTICE OF SURVEYING (Wiley).
 
(9) DESCRIPTIONS FOR DEEDS.
Description by metes and bounds. Descriptions by sections or legal subdivisions of the Dominion Lands System. Descriptions by lots, or parts of lots. Drawing up affidavits as to position of lost corners, etc.
Textbook: Cautley, DESCRIFTIONS OF LAND - A TEXTBOOK FOR SURVEY STUDENTS.
 
(10) DOMINION LANDS SURVEYS ACT AND MANUAL. (Two EXAMINATIONS.)
DOMINION LANDS SURVEYS ACT, MANUAL OR SURVEYS.
 
(11) ALBERTA ACTS. (TWO EXAMINATIONS.)
THE LAND TITLES ACT, Sections 53, 53A and 124; and an interpretation of Section 124 issued by the Land Titles Office, and the regulations of the Minister of Public Works in regard thereto; the whole of THE ALBERTA SURVEYS ACT, 1911-12; (King's Printer, Edmonton) and THE PRIVATE DITCHES ACT (King's Printer, Edmonton).
 
(12) FOREST FLORA.
The forest flora of Canada. Francis Darwin, THE ELEMENTS OF BOTANY (Cambridge University Press), with special reference to Chapters XI to XIV.
 
(13) GEOLOGY.
Geology and mineralogy as in Scott, AN INTRODUCTION TO GEOLOGY, Chapters A, I to XVII, XXIV (Macmillan).