A Survey Marker is Nearby”

These signs, found on utility poles across Prince Edward Island, are so wonderful. They’re designed to weather the elements, to be obvious, and to never wear out.

A Survey Marker is Nearby

There are 4,746 survey monuments in total on Prince Edward Island  The Province has a page that describes their role:

Prince Edward Island’s survey control network is made up of about 4000 stations placed in strategic locations throughout the province. Each station typically consists of an inscribed brass cap placed on top of a concrete pillar buried to ground level with a sign post located about 1 metre away. This network of stations provides security of land tenure for all Islanders. For more than 30 years, land surveyors have referenced their surveys to these stations to ensure that property boundary markers found or placed are accurately recorded on a plane mapping surface and can be relocated with great certainty should these marks become lost or disturbed.

You can download a GIS file of all of them if you’re interested. You don’t even need a coastline file to view the monuments, as they describe the Island pretty much by their collective footprint:

Survey Monument Map of PEI

And, sure enough, right on the map where the sign was found, at the corner of University Ave. and Belvedere, there’s a marker:

Marker at University and Belvedere

Turns out that it’s monument number 2944, which has a web page all its own. That page includes a sketch of the monument’s location, and that sketch is stamped with a big DESTROYED:

Marker 2944 Destroyed

So while the signs might be wonderful, they are also, it seems, sometimes inaccurate. 

The printing on the sketches is wonderful too, by the way: it’s almost worthwhile enough to consider becoming trained as a surveyor simply for the printing improvement it would bring.

Postscript: when you call the number on the orange survey monument sign, you are calling the Chief Surveyor themselves. This is Prince Edward Island, after all.


Oliver B's picture
Oliver B on March 8, 2016 - 16:08 Permalink

I think there should be a master marker (I forget what they call them in the US), with respect to which all the others in PEI are geolocated, and that locates PEI with respect to the mainland. Near Portland, I think maybe in Forest Park, there's the marker with respect to which a huge section of the US is located--like extending to the Mississippi River or something.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 11, 2016 - 10:28 Permalink

I’ve confirmed with the Chief Surveyor that:

  1. The survey monument at Belvedere and University that was destroyed has been replaced with a new monument.
  2. The GIS file of monuments on the province’s website hasn’t been updated since 2005; I’ve asked for it to be refreshed.