John McLaughlin

Professor Emeritus and President Emeritus


Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering

Head Hall E29


John McLaughlin is Professor of Engineering Emeritus and President Emeritus at the University of New Brunswick. During his administrative career at UNB, Dr. McLaughlin served as Chair of the Department of Surveying Engineering, Vice-President (Research and International Cooperation), and Vice-President (Academic). Between 2002 and 2009, he was the University's 17th President and Vice-Chancellor.

Dr. McLaughlin's President Emeritus web site can be accessed at //

Dr. McLaughlin has degrees in engineering from UNB and studied for his doctorate at the Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin. Dr. McLaughlin is registered as a professional engineer and New Brunswick Land Surveyor.

Before coming to UNB, Dr. McLaughlin spent three years with the Government of New Brunswick and the Council of Maritime Premiers on the development of the Maritime Land Registration and Information Service. Subsequently he served as senior consultant to the H.U.D. demonstration program in North Carolina, as advisor to the Government of Canada on geomatics, and to the Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Manitoba on land information policy. He also led a number of prominent national studies related to geomatics and land administration in both Canada and the United States.

At UNB McLaughlin introduced and developed the first land administration program to be taught at a North American university and the first program in land information management to be taught anywhere in the world. During his term as Chair of the Department of Surveying Engineering between 1985-91, the Department was consistently ranked as the top research program at UNB and widely regarded as the strongest program in its field in the English-speaking world.

Professionally, Dr. McLaughlin has been a leader in building the North American geomatics industry and has worked extensively overseas, in more than 40 countries, on the development of property systems with the World Bank, UNDP, and other international agencies. He has authored or co-authored more than two hundred publications, including Land Information Management, Land Administration, and Geospatial Data Infrastructures published by Oxford University Press, and a series of seminal monographs published by the National Academy of Sciences press. Most recently Dr. McLaughlin co-edited Cadastre: Geo-Information Innovations in Land Administration (Springer).

Dr. McLaughlin has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Surveying Engineering, Geomatica, URISA Journal, Geo-Information Systems, International Journal for Land Use Policy, GIS Law, The West Indian Journal of Engineering, Online GIS, and the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation.

Prof. McLaughlin has supervised or co-supervised nearly one hundred graduate students. He has been a Visiting Professor at the universities of Natal, Canterbury, Otago, and New South Wales, a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maine, external examiner to the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (where he has been an honorary professor).

Dr. McLaughlin has been a chair or member of many boards, including Service New Brunswick, the Research and Productivity Council, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, Atlantic University Sport, Geoconnections, the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, the Canadian Space Agency, Atlantic Hydrogen Inc., Beauceron Inc, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and the Council of Canadian Academies. He has also served on the boards of several national and international research networks, including GEOID, Auto 21, and the Canadian Rivers Institute.

Dr. McLaughlin was a co-founder of two companies, one an American based technology consultancy and the other (together with Hernando de Soto) a Peruvian international development company. He is a Fellow of the Instituto Libertad Y Democracia in Peru, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Dr. McLaughlin has led a number of regional, national, and international organizations, including the Canadian Council of Land Surveyors, the Canadian Institute of Geomatics, and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

John has received a number of awards, including the Earle J. Fennell Award of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the Horwood Prize of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. He was a recipient of a William Evans Visiting Professorship (Otago) and twice was awarded an Erskine Fellowship (Canterbury). In 1999 he received the Champlain Award, the highest award of the Canadian surveying profession, and in 2001 was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of the Kirby Award from Engineers and Geoscientists New Brunswick and the Chowaniec Lifetime Achievement Award from Startup Canada. He has also been recognized as one of Atlantic Canada's top CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine, was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Administration in 2009 and received the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medals (Golden and Diamond). He is a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick.

John and Maggie McLaughlin have three children and five grandchildren. John's dad, Archie McLaughlin, was a forward observation officer with the Royal Canadian Artillery in World War II, and subsequently served as Director of Surveys for New Brunswick. He was the initial recipient of the George Sproule Award for his pioneering work in survey automation and land records modernization.

The above photo is from a 1995 interview with Don Cayo for The New Brunswick Reader here.