Before starting your work, it is key that you assess if you need to clean your elevation terrain. Stockpile calculation and cut/fill map are relevant instances where the answer is clearly YES but if your final deliverable is a lines survey than it for sure is NO. Read on to learn how to make a good decision.


First step to make that decision is to determine what deliverable you need to produce. If that final product requires initial elevation terrain cleaning, Virtual Surveyor provides you with a complete toolbox. Deeding on the use case and on the type of surveyed area, you grab the tools that are relevant to efficiently remove surface items. Virtual Surveyor doesn't work with automatic DTM extraction.


DeliverableClean Terrain?
Stockpile volume
Cut/fill map
Contour map
Q-Points surface
Wooded area surface
Surface (mine survey)
Lines survey


Use cases

  • Stockpile volume

On mining or crushing sites, it's possible that stockpiles are feed by crusher arms or conveyors. These items shouldn't be included in the stockpile volume calculation. Before creating the reference surface and calculate a stockpile volume, it's required to remove the conveyor that overhangs it. The easiest way to do it is to use the Remove Object tool to erase the conveyor in one click. If your are working with a Mountain plan, use the Replace terrain tool.



  • Cut/fill map

Cut/fill maps are used to manage earthwork progress. Those kinds of maps are generated between two terrain states or between a terrain state and a design surface. In both cases, machines and other non relevant objects must be removed to deliver an accurate cut/fill calculation. The easiest way to do it is to use the Remove Object tool to erase those items in one click. If your are working with a Mountain plan, use the Replace terrain tool.



  • Contour map

Contour maps are commonly used by surveyors to illustrate terrain elevation. Contours have to symbolize the terrain and not the items standing on it. Whether using the Contours Terrain Lens or creating a surface with contours styling, the first step is to clean the elevation terrain. Depending on the area and the type of items to be removed, all the cleaning tool may be used and combined. Keep in mind that only contours generated from a surface are exportable.



  • Surface with Q-Points.

This workflow is usually implemented in large open area like earthwork construction site or mining site. To turn your elevation terrain into a lightweight TIN you can generate an intelligent points grid and triangulate it. The Q-Points algorithm places points on the terrain where the elevation exceeds the desired Elasticity. Basically, it drops more points on hilly relief than on flat surface. Vehicles, buildings, trees are by default fully covered with points, but it may not make sense. If the goal of the survey is to measure ground elevation, it would be better to first clean the terrain before running the Q-Points tool.



  • Surface with Low-pass Points

This workflow is usually implemented in large wooded area with open canopy. To generate a lightweight TIN of the ground elevation, you have to remove all the vegetation. In this case, it's not required to clean the elevation terrain. Instead of doing that you can use the Low-pass Points tool and triangulate the resulting points grid to generate the surface.



  • Mine survey 

To create a survey map of a mine or a quarry site, you can use a rectangular or triangular points grid and triangulate it. To make the TIN as close as possible to the reality, add breaklines and manual points and erase points that have been randomly dropped over unexpected items. For that kind of deliverable, you don't need an initial terrain cleaning.