John McLaughlin

Scholar in Residence


J Herbert Smith Centre for TME

1 506 453 4567

John McLaughlin is Professor of Engineering and Scholar in Residence 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 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 a 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. He has supervised or co-supervised nearly one hundred graduate students.

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.

John 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 is an honorary professor).

Dr. McLaughlin has been a 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. and the Council of Canadian Academies He has also served on the boards of several national and international research networks, including GEOID and Auto 21, and currently chairs the Management Board of 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 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 three 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.

In 1995, Dr. McLaughlin was interviewed by Don Cayo for The New Brunswick Reader, The Lost Treasure of the Andes.

Selected publications

McLaughlin, John (1971). “Modeling Techniques for the Design of Land Survey Systems, and Some Initial Conclusions.” The Canadian Surveyor, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 49-53.

McLaughlin, J. D. (1975). "The Nature, Function, and Design Concepts of Multi-Purpose Cadastres." Ph.D. Dissertation (Civil and Environmental Engineering), University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc. U.S.A.

McLaughlin, John and J. Clapp (1997). “Toward the Development of Multipurpose Cadastres.” Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, ASCE, Vol. 103, September, pp. 53-73.

NRC Panel on a Multipurpose Cadastre (1980). Need for a Multipurpose Cadastre, Washington: National Academy Press.

McLaughlin, John (1981). “Education for an Expanded Surveying Professions: A Canadian Perspective.” Proceedings of the General Assembly Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy, Ottawa, September.

Bacon, C.J., John McLaughlin, et al. (1981). Zulu Land Tenure and Development: The Adaptation of Contemporary Institutions, Durban: report prepared for the Buthelezi Commission.

Chrzanowski, Adam, Richard Langley, David Wells, and John McLaughlin (1983). “A Forecast of the Impact of GPS on Surveying.” Proceedings of the ACSM Annual Meeting, Washington, March, pp. 625-634.

McLaughlin, John and C. Wunderlich (1983). “Concepts and Approaches to Land Information Management.” Proceedings of Fédération Internationale des Géometres Congress XVII, Sofia, Bulgaria, June, invited paper No. 301.3.

Task Force Report on the Future of the Surveying and Mapping Industry in Canada. Ottawa: prepared for the Department of Regional Industrial Expansion, 1985, 124 pp.

Hamilton, Angus C. and John McLaughlin (eds.) (1985). The Decision Maker and Land Information Systems. Ottawa: The Canadian Institute of Surveying, 452 pp.

McLaughlin, John (1985). “Land Information Management: A Canadian Perspective.” Journal of Surveying Engineering, Vol. III, No. 2, pp. 93-104.

Dale, P. and John McLaughlin (1988). Land Information Management. Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-858404-0

McLaughlin, John (Co-editor) (1989). Survey Law in Canada. Toronto: Carswell, ISBN 0-459-33191-4.

BSC Group (1989). Managing our Land Information Resources. Washington: prepared for the Bureau of Land Management, May, BLM-AA-AE-89-003-4540, 84 pages.

McLaughlin, John and David Coleman (1990). “Land Information Management into the 1990s.” World Cartography, Vol. XX, pp. 136-148.

McLaughlin, John (1991). “Towards a National Spatial Data Infrastructure.” In: Proceedings of the Canadian Conference on GIS, Ottawa, March. pp. 1-25.

Mapping Sciences Committee, NRC (1993). Toward a Coordinated Spatial Data Infrastructure for the Nation. Washington: National Academy Press.

McLaughlin, John (Ch.) (1994). Geomatics Human Resources Planning. Ottawa: final report of the Committee on Geomatics Human Resources Planning prepared for Human Resources and Labour Canada, March, 120 pp.

Mapping Sciences Committee, NRC. (1994). National Spatial Data Infrastructure: The Data Foundation. Washington: National Academy Press.

Mapping Sciences Committee, NRC (1994). Promoting the National Spatial Data Infrastructure through Partnerships. Washington: National Academy Press.

McLaughlin, John and H. de Soto (1994). “Property formalisation: the PROFORM solution.” Geomatica, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 307-314.

McLaughlin, John and D. Palmer (1996). “Land Registration and Development.” ITC Journal, No. 96-1, pp. 10-18.

McLaughlin, John (Ed.) (1997). “Cadastral Studies: Special Issue.” Geomatica, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 387-443.

McLaughlin, John and J. McKenna (Guest Editors) (1998). “Property and Development: Building the Essential Infrastructure.” Land Use Policy, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 1-96.

Dale, P. and John McLaughlin (1999). Land Administration. Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-823390-6.

Groot, R. and John McLaughlin (2000). Geospatial Data Infrastructure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McLaughlin, John (Chair) (2005). Future of Engineering: Report of a Task Force. Ottawa: Canadian Academy of Engineering, December.

Rich, S. and John McLaughlin (2009). “Social Imperatives for Better Education: Putting Wisdom on the Agenda.” Education Canada, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp 40-45.

Foord, D. and John McLaughlin. (2009). “Research and Development-Based Productivity Indicators.” In: Exploring the Dimensions of Self-Sufficiency for New Brunswick, Fredericton: St. Thomas University publication, pp 58-73.

McLaughlin, John (2013). Keynote address, “The Evolution of the Surveying Profession in the Long Boom (1945-2000)”, Newfoundland Land Surveyors 60th Annual Meeting, Gander.