Member Biography

William Merriett Schwartz

(1928.10.29 – 2008.02.01)
SLS (Life Member), DLS, ALS
Commission #125

  • Born in Vanguard, SK
  • Graduated Grade 12 from Prince Albert Collegiate Institute in 1945
  • Graduated from University of Saskatchewan with a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics in 1949
  • Commissioned as a DLS in March, 1950, ALS in March, 1951 and SLS #125 in May, 1954
  • Obtained Master’s Degree in Survey Engineering from University of New Brunswick in 1967
  • Married to Constance E. Fletcher, 1971, widowed in 1984
  • Life Member of the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors’ Association
  • Employed by:
    • 1948 - 1951 Mines and Natural Resources, Ottawa
    • 1951 - 1955 Private Practice; Mineral Claims in the Yukon; Supervised Saskatchewan-Northwest Territories boundary survey (1954)
    • 1955 - 1957 Energy, Mines & Resources, Ottawa
    • 1957 - 1968 Department of Natural Resources, Saskatchewan - Supervisor of Surveys
    • 1968 - 1981 Renewable Resources, Saskatchewan – Controller of Surveys
    • 1981 - 1984 Central Survey and Mapping Agency - Director of Data & Research
    • Retired from Active Membership in 1986


  • 1964 Member, Canadian Advisory Council on Cadastral Surveys
  • 1965 Part-time lecturer at the University of New Brunswick
  • 1969 Saskatchewan Commissioner, Manitoba/Saskatchewan Boundary Commission
  • 1970 Member, Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names
  • 1971 CISM Annual Meeting, Ottawa; Presentation on Geodetic Calculations using a desk-top computer
  • 1971 STI, Moose Jaw; Presented Seminar on “Basic Mathematics for the Spheroid, Location of Formulas and Meaning of Symbols” and “Programming 101 and Wang 700B”
  • 1971 Provincial Councillor in The Canadian Institute of Surveying
  • 1974 Member of the Metric Conversion Committee for the Province of Saskatchewan
  • 1975 Presented Seminar at the University of Regina for the SLSA & CISM on Adjustments by Least Squares of any Geodetic Network


  • September, 1970 “Traverse Adjustments”
  • December, 1970 Authored 6 of 82 of a Selective List of Computer Programs for Surveyors
  • September, 1971 Letter to the Editor; Transverse Mercator Coordinates
  • December, 1972 Letter to the Editor; Bearings, Observations
  • March, 1973 “Astronomic Azimuth Calculations on a Desk-Top Computer”; This paper was also presented at FIG Permanent Committee Meeting held in Tel Aviv from May 28 to June 3, 1972.
  • September, 1976 “Control Survey Calculation on a Hand-held Computer”


  • Pioneered and kept in the forefront in survey data processing on hand held and desk-top computers
  • Developed the replacement of almanacs by polynomials enabling the permanent storage of twenty years of almanac for the sun and polaris on a 4K pocket computer.
  • Pioneered the use of controlling the azimuths of control surveys by observing the sun and using time as the dependent variable. This practise was used in the Oil industry in Western Canada.
  • Developed routines which make calculations in Geographic Coordinates and Traverse Mercator coordinates possible on a pocket computer.
  • Developed a system for surveying mineral dispositions described in Geographic Coordinates by using Doppler positioning and on site Geographic Calculators.
  • Helped set up the system of map staking for mineral exploration.
  • Made all the Tellurometer measurements to form the basis for Lionel Boutillers publication comparing chained and electronic measurements.
  • Published columns on survey calculations in the Association of Survey Technologists of Ontario Journal.
  • Conducted meetings with the Association of Rural Municipalities concerning the need for the preservation of monuments.
  • Met with most of the cities of Saskatchewan to advance the progress of integrated surveys.
  • Provided the survey programs necessary to calculate the UTM coordinates of Cadastral Surveys at a cost of less than 10% of the existing programs.
  • Instrumental in making aerial photographs a tool in establishing water boundaries.
  • One of the first in Canada to use the Curta Calculator, Tellurometer and Geodimeter, Radio Shack and Sharp Calculators, Hewlett Packard Distomats in connection with surveys.
  • Adapted Computer programs to calculate aerial triangulation on smaller computers saving time and money and making triangulationan alternative to controlling air photos.
  • Worked with Max Viminitz, SLS to provide a computer program on the Olivetti 101 that helped cut the backlog in plan examination.
  • Started the contracting out to SLS Members of Control Surveys, Measurements of Interprovincial Boundaries, and the Layout of Northern Settlement Townsites.


  • 1957 - 59 Repository/Biography Committee
  • 1959 - 61 Entertainment Committee
  • 1962 - 65 Handbook Committee (1963 – 1965 as Chairman)
  • 1969 - 70 Member of Council, Education Committee-Chairman, Convention Committee-Chairman, Finance Committee
  • 1970 - 71 Vice President, Finance Committee-Chairman Education Committee-Chairman
  • 1971 - 72 President
  • 1972 - 73 Past President, Finance Committee, Legislation Committee-Chairman, Nominations Committee-Chairman
  • 1973 - 74 Convention Committee
  • 1974 - 75 Nominations Committee
  • 1997 Awarded life membership

Mathematics, computations and desktop computers are a major interest in Bill Schwartz’s life. The computations that he can perform with an Olivetti computer are a continual source of amazement to the company representatives. Bill’s major hobbies are golf and computer programming. This latter subject is of such full time interest to him that he has taken up the sale of computer programs, and is listed as a consultant in Olivetti’s sales literature. Yes, Bill Schwartz is a character, but a clever one. This should be a year that the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors will remember. As a surveyor, his prowess is legendary. He keeps pace with computer technology striving to make maximum use of the capabilities of new equipment.”

From Nomination for Life Membership

(See also biography on Alberta Land Surveyors Association web site.)