Surveys Division

What is Crown Land?

Crown lands are all or any part of the land under the administration and control of the Minister of Natural Resources. Of the 5.3 million hectares of land in Nova Scotia, about 1.53 million hectares (3.8 million acres or about 29% of the province) is designated as Crown land.

In addition, most of the submerged lands (the sea bed) along the Province's 9,000 km of coastline are also considered Crown land. Exceptions would include federally and privately owned waterlots.

The Surveys Division is responsible for the survey program within the Department of Natural Resources. In this role the division is accountable for coordinating, monitoring and evaluating all Crown land survey projects. The Division is also the record keeper for activities and interests on Crown land. After decisions are made on how Crown land will be allocated and used, the Surveys Division, with the assistance of Regional Services, provide the tools to complete these tasks. The surveying, mapping, research and migration are required to effectively manage property.

The work involved in managing these responsibilities is handled by two sections:

  • Crown Land Information Management Centre:
    The Centre is responsible for maintaining a registry of conveyancing documents, survey plans and maps of Crown land holdings in the province, for migrating Crown lands into the land registration system and reconciling Crown land ownership interests. Staff are also responsible for providing access to Crown land records and for researching Crown interests in land. The Registrar of Crown Lands also oversees the GIS and Cartography staff who are responsible for maintaining the Crown Cadastral Database. Staff in this section maps changes to the status of Crown land and reflects these changes in the database. The Section carries out special mapping projects, distributes Crown land data and provides data support to regional staff.
  • Crown Survey Administration:
    Crown Survey Administration is responsible for ensuring that all surveys of Crown land are completed to the highest standard; that plan requests by the Land Administration Division are met in an expeditious manner; and that respectful working relations are developed not only in the office but cultivated in the extended working environment including the Association of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors, other government departments, private sector surveyors and public in general.