Applicable plans
Valley Ridge Peak

Drone surveys obtained over construction and mining sites often contain a lot of machines on the elevation data. Those surface disturbances are expected as jobsite operations can't be stopped during surveying duties. Depending on the use case, those items may need to be removed before going further with the survey analysis. For example, it's usually a good workflow for cut/fill calculations. Before starting removing items from your elevation terrain, make sure to read this article that explains how to decide to clean the terrain or not.

The Remove Object tool allows you to enhance your productivity by removing surface objects that are not part of the elevation terrain in one click. You can find the Remove Object button in the Tools group of the HOME tab

This tool is easier and quicker than Replace Terrain tool also available in the Tools group of the HOME tab. Nevertheless, this other tool is more robust. 

Remove ObjectReplace terrain
Workflow1 click Multiple clicks 
Main featureFaster and easierMore robust
Applicable planPeakRidge and Peak

Quick Usage Guide

  1. Enable Remove Object mode by clicking on the Remove Object button in the Home tab.
  2. Left-mouse click on the object you want to remove within the viewport.
  3. The terrain is flattened (through a terrain modifier).
  4. When the elevation terrain is fully cleaned up, exit the Remove Object mode by clicking on the Remove Object button in the Home tab or make a right click.


  • Removing large (excavators, bulldozers...) and small (cars, pick-up trucks...) vehicles and machines.


  • Removing conveyors. The Remove Object tool can be used to remove a simple conveyor in one click. For segmented or multi-arms conveyors (crushers and sieves) you need to click on each part of the machine to fully remove it from the elevation terrain.

  • Removing materials (manholes, pipes, shipping containers...).

Tips and Tricks

  • The Remove Object tool is not a fully automated algorithm that would erase all items that stick out of the ground. Indeed, we consider that the decision to remove a specific object has to be made by the user. The computer power is used to make that process more efficient. To help you detect objects that need to be removed, use the Slope Steepness Terrain Lens. This tool is available in the Terrain Lens group of the ANALYSIS tab. Use the single red Palette and set the Threshold to at least 100%. In that way, you highlight vertical surfaces and easily detect objects. For example, machines are surrounded by red vertical surfaces that make these easier to detect. Then, it's the user choice to remove or not the objects according to his own analysis and knowledge of the site.

  • Beside the high productivity Remove Object tool another terrain cleaning tool is available in the Tools group of the HOME tab. The Replace Terrain tool requires at least 3 clicks around the object that needs to be removed but it usually considered as more robust. It should be used for larger or more complex items. The Replace terrain could be considered as a remediation tool when the one-click tool can't erase the unexpected object from the elevation data. 


  • To focus only on the usable part of the survey, first clip your drone survey data with your jobsite boundary. Keeping the surrounding data would bring noise in your analysis and make it more complex. You find the Clip button in the TOOLS tab where it is only activated when an elevation terrain and/or an image terrain is/are selected along with a boundary. 

  • The terrain modification may be deleted and you can come back to your original elevation data by turning off the Terrain Modifier within the project view.