Manitoba Municipal Ditch & Culvert Surveys & Profile Plotting for Drainage Licensing

ditch survey

Most municipal drainage projects in Manitoba require licensing by Manitoba Water Stewardship. A part of the licensing requirement is that a survey be undertaken of the ditch(es) in question, and detailed profiles be produced from the survey data showing the stationing (distance), elevation profiles of the existing ditch bottom, existing culvert bases, plus the prairie (field edge) and road top elevations. The proposed new ditch gradient and any new culverts and their elevation information should also be drawn onto the profile. Surveys should be calibrated to established geodetic elevations, using the current geiod model, and include local benchmarks that can be used for future reference.

We have been providing these survey and plotting services to Manitoba municipalities since 2011, and have surveyed hundreds of miles of ditches. Our data collection and data processing workflows are extremely streamlined, a result of what we’ve learned over hundreds of miles, and the products we deliver to our clients are highly complemented by those using them to implement the drainage works. In fact, we have even developed our own proprietary data collection software program that we run on all our survey equipment to improve efficiency and provide in-field verification that collected data are as accurate and complete as possible.

We are currently accepting contracts from new Manitoba municipalities to provide ditch surveying and plotting services.

Please call us at 1-866-670-0007 for further information or send us a message using the contact form at the bottom of this page and we’ll respond soon!


Our survey process involves driving all ditch bottoms, prairies (field edges), and road tops to collect an elevation point approximately every 15 metres. In addition, we record the elevations and sizes of all culverts (and additional information such as the culvert’s condition in the event it is damaged, blocked, etc).

We use Hemisphere GNSS S320 survey-grade GNSS receivers to collect survey data. To obtain absolute horizontal and vertical accuracy that ties in to true geodetic position we use the survey reference network provided by Lewis Instruments of Winnipeg.

Survey data are then processed in-house. We firstly process all data to assign true mean sea level (MSL) elevations based on the official Geoid Model as specified by Natural Resources Canada – in other words our surveys are tied to true mean sea level elevations. Next, we create survey profiles complete with detailed information on culvert sizes and elevations. Our survey profiles are plotted in accordance with the requirements specified by Manitoba Water Stewardship, and contain all of the information they require.

During each stage of data processing and profile creation, we have implemented several quality assurance checks and reviews to ensure accuracy and minimize the likelihood of errors being included in the final outputs.

For each mile surveyed, we provide two printed copies of the survey profiles, showing the proposed new ditch bottom profile if requested, at 24″ x 36″.

In addition we provide the digital PDF file of the profile for easy viewing, distribution, and so that additional copies can be printed as required.

For municipalities that hire us to survey 20 or more miles in a year we’ll also provide an online map showing the locations of completed surveys and allowing one-click access to the survey profile. See the live example below showing surveys completed for the RM of Grey – clicking on the icons will allow you do view and download the PDF of that survey (zoom in and you’ll be able to see the legal land locations on the map too).

Our RM Ditch Survey Process was developed and is administered by company owners Simon Knutson and Joel Classen. Simon holds a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and both Joel and Simon have completed the surveying course delivered by Manitoba Water Stewardship which teaches the required procedures and plotting techniques (which we have modernized and adapted to make this service something we can provide at a competitive price and be able to achieve significantly greater productivity and turnaround times). Between our team, we have over 15 years of combined experience providing RTK GPS surveys and processing survey data.


Data processing and creation of profiles is performed by our GIS Specialist Hayk Yeritsian. Hayk holds a PhD in Geoinformatics and has considerable knowledge and experience when it comes to working with spatial data and ensuring it is correctly processed. As and when requirements change we will continue to work with Water Stewardship to ensure our surveys meet all requirements.

Where required, we are able to utilize the services of a Professional Engineer to provide additional consultation and provide services such as culvert sizing, flow calculations, advanced drainage designs, and more. Please contact us for details.

We have developed unique processes and procedures in-house to be able to provide these services at a competitive price point that makes our services a realistic option for municipalities while maintaining the high standards required of this type of consulting work.

We’ve been providing these services since 2011 and have worked closely with Manitoba Water Stewardship during this time to ensure what we deliver meets their requirements.

We have surveyed and plotted hundreds of miles of ditches in Manitoba, probably more than anybody else. We carry full professional and general liability insurance.

Our pricing is per-mile, and based on 3-shot or 5-shot levels (3-shot level refers to survey of ONE ditch per mile (e.g. only the ditch on the south side of the road), while 5-shot level surveys include both ditches (e.g. the ditches north AND south of the road). Discounted rates apply for higher volume orders per calendar year. Typically we prefer to receive details of all required surveys for the current year in spring or summer so that we can ensure they are completed before the first major snowfall.

Below are sample per mile prices for standard jobs. Surveys having large portions with significant challenges (e.g. deep water, fences, trees or bush, livestock, etc) may be subject to additional charges, and travel fees may apply for jobs farther afield or low number of miles.

Send us a message regarding RM Ditch Surveys

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