January 10, 2025 Workshop - SAVE THE DATE



Registration: 8AM
Program Begins: 8:30AM 
Lunch: Noon
Adjourn: 4:30PM


*Cancellation Policy*
If you are unable to attend you may cancel on or before January 3rd, your registration fee will be returned minus a $25 administrative fee. No refunds will be made after January 3rd, but attendee substitutions will be accepted at any time.  

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the statewide audience of the conference and contractual deadline obligations with the facility all efforts will be made (with safety of attendees in consideration) to host the conference regardless of weather.


Speaker: Ron Nelms, PLS ~ Nelms Surveying, Inc. 

Topics: Boundary Retracements & Legal Description Writings (Iowa Specific Examples)

The preparation of legal descriptions is both a process and an art. An art in the sense of mastering the ability to convey the description in a manner that causes the reader to arrive at the same location even though each writer uses their own technique.
Following in the “Footsteps” is an often-used term in the Surveying Community. Retracing those “footsteps” can be frustrating especially if there are ambiguities and/or conflicts within the conveyance documents. When preparing a legal description, it will be your “Footsteps” that others will be following.

The hope is that this workshop will enlighten the surveyor to foresee possible problems when preparing descriptions and how to minimize those pitfalls. The goal is to equip the attendee on how to approach each one and when to use the different methods.
We will explore the importance of proper word phrases, punctuation, framework, parts of the description, and the forms to use. The emphasis will be on sufficiency and completeness while avoiding ambiguity and being verbose.

We will review the proper use of the commencement, points of beginnings, and the basis of bearings. All the while stressing the importance of using ties and calls to strengthen your description. Each description is unique and methods can vary. We will review descriptions done by others and analyze them to determine if there are conflicts or ambiguities. If there are, then we will investigate possible ways to interpret the intent and act accordingly. We will also delve into using this interpretation and placing it on the ground through boundary retracement.

As we work through retracement, we will consider several items such as how much weight do we put on coordinate values through mathematical analysis? Is there case law? What resources should we use? What is the “pedigree” of the monument? Is it identified in the description? When should we use a “Chain of Title?”

In the end, we hope that each person will take something back to their practice that will better equip them in preparing and interpreting all types of legal descriptions.


Speaker Information: Ron Nelms, PLS ~ Nelms Surveying, Inc.

Ron founded Nelms Surveying; Inc. in 1992 and serves as the principal.  He is licensed in California, Arizona, and Nevada.  He is a past President (2018) of the California Land Surveyors Association (CLSA).  CLSA Member of the Year in 2015. During his time at Nelms Surveying he has performed numerous surveys that included Boundary retracements, Legal Descriptions, Topographic surveys, As-Builts, and ALTA standard surveys.  In addition, he is noted for his expert testimony.  He is the author of “Putting Big Sticks by Little Sticks.”  He has two sons and has been gifted with four grandchildren.  A proud Rotarian and  for recreation he plays tennis and pickle ball.  He enjoys reading and writing in his spare time.  



For questions, please contact the SLSI office at [email protected] or 515-284-7055.