A Publication of the Society of Land Surveyors of Iowa January 2015
Random Lines Goes DIGITAL...

Random Lines is going digital. We know some of our members love the feel of paper in their hands when reading, just as there were no doubt surveyors before you who just couldn't imagine not using a chain.  GPS stations?  Satellite technology - why that's crazy. 


Well, SLSI is going to come into the 21st century and try an electronic newsletter.  We believe there are a number of advantages to this method of production.  Most importantly, it allows us to communicate more frequently.  Another advantage is it allows us to use articles that are more lengthy and contain art or drawing (For example, see "Most Important Point of Iowa USPLSS" article.)  Often time, the printed version of Random Lines is limited to a certain even numbered pages and we either can't run articles like this or we are forced to continue them in the next publication.


From this end, we can track and see how many people open the electronic newsletter and even which articles are most often clicked on. We hope this electronic version of Random Lines will provide an easy and efficient method or providing "need to know" and "nice to know" information to our members. 


Let's see how it works. Feel free to offer feedback...Worst case scenario - hit the print button.

REGISTER NOW! (See Link Below)
MARCH 5-6, 2015
Scheman Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

CLICK HERE for More Information and to REGISTER ONLINE!  (http://slsi.org/MarConference2015.htm)

The SLSI annual conference is shaping up to be a great meeting. Walt Robillard and Kim Buchheit will be the keynote speakers on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday. The topics will be a half-day on March 5 on "Center Section" and a full day on March 6 "Following the Footsteps." This program will carry the surveyors into strange and untested areas of surveying law, Using actual examples of documents, field evidence and case law, you will learn how to "follow the footsteps, what the footsteps really are and how a court might look at your retracement efforts.

Walt Robillard has been a frequent speaker for decades around the world. Walt's experience is varied and encompasses an international flavor. As a specialist in land boundary disputes he has served as a consultant and expert witness to individuals as well as governmental bodies in boundary, easement and land title disputes, both on a local as well as an international basis. Many of the problems have been of an historical nature, in which he analyzed ancient boundaries. His experience, training and education as a forester, land surveyor and an attorney brings each client a multi-faceted professional, who not only understands legal aspects but practical, field applications as well.


Interested in Exhibiting?  CLICK HERE! for the paper form or go to or go to the bottom of the page at http://slsi.org/MarConference2015.htm for links to REGISTER online! 


NOTE: PROGRAM FOR SPOUSES Please note there is no organized spouses' program this year at the annual conference.  Spouses who are planning to attend the conference and would like to do something together on their own, are encouraged to gather in the Scheman lobby prior to the start of Thursday's program at 9:00AM.


CLICK HERE to download a printable copy of the Annual Conference Brochure which will also be coming in the mail soon.

Article1AUCTION ITEMS for Annual Conference

 Help the Iowa Surveyor's Foundation!

Feel free to donate items for the annual meeting auction benefiting the Iowa Professional Surveyor's Foundation scholarships.  Items auctioned in the past have included everything from old surveying equipment and books to such things as sports memorabilia and computer software.  Please contact Justin Scott at the state office with item description @ 515-284-7055 or JUSTIN.SCOTT@SLSI.ORG.


SLSI would also like to thank Kelly Daugherty for successfully serving as our auctioneer over the past few years!  

Article12015 Map/Plat Competition
Entries must be received by Friday, February 20, 2015.

SLSI is conducting its annual Map/Plat Competition. This is your opportunity to show the quality and complexity of some of the projects you have worked on this past year. Please note the quick deadline!


Awards will be presented at the SLSI Awards Banquet on March 5, 2015 at the Annual Land Surveying Conference in Ames.


CLICK HERE for more information and to download a printable copy of the details.


Please contact Justin Scott at the state office at 515-284-7055 or JUSTIN.SCOTT@SLSI.ORG with any questions.
"The Initial Point to the 5th Principal Meridian"                   

Dr. Richard L. Elgin, PS, PE
Archer Elgin Surveying and Engineering, Inc.; Rolla, MO

November 10, 2015 is an important date to nearly every American who owns land in the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota and in parts of Minnesota and South Dakota.  Every surveyor in those states should stop for a moment, and with head bowed, remember every GLO Deputy Surveyor who surveyed on the U.S. Public Land Survey System (USPLSS).  Why November 10, 2015?  Because that will be 200 years to the day, the Bicentennial, of the establishment of the Initial Point for the 5th Principal Meridian.  That initial point is "zero, zero," the point to which practically all titles to the lands listed in the states above are referenced.  More land in the United States is referenced to this point, in a swamp in eastern Arkansas, than any other Initial Point.  From that point the township and range numbering systems begins for those states.  It ends at the northwest corner of North Dakota, in Township 164 North, Range 103 West.  Read More...


Missouri Now Requires PLS Prepare ANY New Recordable Property Description                   

The Missouri DOT advised all stakeholders that in the future all recordable documents with a legal description to be signed and sealed by a Professional Land Surveyor be signed by a professional land surveyor has now become law. 


The new requirements, effective last fall, apply to all recordable documents that contain a legal description and affect the location of the boundary lines of the subject property.  It affects all recordable documents for both the acquisition of property rights (negotiated and condemned) and the conveyance of property rights.  The PLS is now required to sign and seal the legal description that will be attached to the recordable documents.


In a subsequent position paper by the state licensing board, it was noted "if the recordable description is prepared by anyone other than a professional land surveyor,  such action would be considered the unlicensed practice of land surveying..."

CHANGE IS COMING                

By H. Frank Bellon, Jr., P.L.S.


Whether we surveyors like it or not, more changes in how our plat product is processed and filed are being considered by others. Change here appears necessary to embrace new technology and resolve existing obstacles and inconveniences. Your SLSI Board has a seat at the table to draft new policy.

Over the past year and a half, three SLSI board members and representatives from the Iowa County Recorders Association (ICRA) and Iowa Land Records (ILR) have been meeting. The purpose of our meetings was to identify concerns and provide solutions for the filing for record of the surveyor's paper product.  Read More...


Full Member
John Casucci; R.A. Smith National, Inc.; Brookfield, WI

Brad Stumbo; Stumbo & Assoc. Land Surveying, Inc.; Ames, IA


Land Surveyor Intern
Ken DeKeyser; Hall & Hall Engineers Inc.; Hiawatha, IA

Justin Jensen;McClure Engineering Company; Fort Dodge, IA

Patrick Shelquist; McClure Engineering Company; Clive, IA


Land Surveyor Technician
Eric Withrow; HBK Engineering, LLC; Iowa City, IA


Life Member
Lyle Mayberry;Land Surveying Services, Inc.; Glenwood, IA   

In This Issue
SLSI Annual Conference
Auction Items
Map/Plat Competition
5th Principal Meridian
Missouri DOT
Change Is Coming
High Point Website
January Workshop
IA Prof. Surveyors Foundation
Joel Romey Awards
SLSI Annual Conference Registration Link
Looking for a high point in Iowa?
     Check out this website...
You never know what you might find when you're out surfing the internet.  SLSI Board member, Paul Herold with HRS, LLC Surveying in New Hampton stumbled on this interesting link showing highpoints by county in Iowa.  Check it out, click on this link: http://www.peakbagger.com/list.aspx?lid=13408
Record Attendance at the January Workshop!
Dennis Mouland presented his program entitled "Lotted Sections With Iowa Anomalies" at the SLSI Workshop on January 16, 2015 to a record attendance of about 170 people.  Mouland is always a popular speaker and we hope those of you who attended enjoyed the day.

In a month we will again gather in Ames for the SLSI annual meeting.  As in year's past, the Foundation plans to award scholarships to deserving students enrolled in the Land Surveying, Civil/Construction Technology curriculum.  As you've done so over the past several years, we ask that you help make this year's fundraiser another successful one.  For those of you who have already donated this year, we thank you for your donations.


Thanks to your generosity, the auction at our annual conference has been our largest source of income.  As you prepare to attend our annual meeting, we ask you to please again consider your support to the Foundation in either auction items or cash donations.


We thank you in advance for your continued support in promoting the land surveying profession through your generous donations. 

Joel Romey WinsTwo National Competitions
Joel Romey, PLS, SLSI Board Member has won two top awards in the NSPS Map/Plat competition. Those of you who are readers of the NSPS News and Views have probably already read that Joel was cited by NSPS as a double winner in the national map/plat competition.  Romey won first place award in the Subdivision category and a third place award in the Boundary/Cadastral category.  Romey is a frequent award winner in Iowa's Map/Plat competition which is held every year in conjunction with our annual conference.
Quick Links




Craig Steffensmeier, PLS
Steffensmeier Surveying


Past President

Howard Stewart, PLS
Jasper County Highway Dept.



Alan Fagan, PLS,
Al Fagan-Land Surveying, P.C.



Gary Brown, PLS,
GB Consulting


NSPS Governor

Richard Leu, PLS
Iowa Department of Transportation (retired)



Frank Bellon, Jr. PLS
H. Frank Bellon


Terence E. Crawford, PLS/PE
City of Denison


Mike Geier, PLS
Snyder & Associates, Inc.


Paul Herold, PLS


Jason Hull, PLS


Dan Rittel, PLS
Engineering Resource Group


Joel Romey, PLS
Bishop Engineering Company


John (Jay) W. Waddingham, PLS/PE
Franklin County Engineer 

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 Society of Land Surveyors of Iowa
          100 Court Avenue, Suite 203
          Des Moines, IA  50309
          Phone: 515-284-7055   Email: info@slsi.org
          Website: www.slsi.org