Earthworks, mining, and construction monitoring can be challenging as you deal with large sites, significant changes, and other in-the-field challenges. Drone data combined with proper software has opened the ability to monitor your sites efficiently. Cut/Fill maps helps to monitor earthworks changes, and quantify those changes on a site over time, or against a future design.

The Cut/Fill tool (formerly Volume Difference) allows you to quickly perform these large-, or small-scale volumetric measurements of your earthwork's datasets. Several outputs are produced when utilizing this tool:

  • Cut/Fill visual map - Visually know where changes happened!
  • Cut/Fill values as total units - Quantify your data with exact measurements!

The resulting map is available as a Cut/Fill item in the project view. You can find the Cut/Fill tool in the Volumes group of the SELECTION - TOOLS tab when a boundary is selected.

Quick Usage Guide

  1. Begin on the Terrain State where you want to create a cut/fill map.
  2. Create a Boundary around the area and select it.
  3. In the TOOLS tab, navigate to the Volumes group and set the Reference Type to Terrain State.
    1. 3D surface, Flat minimum, or Flat can also be used when monitoring a site with minimal terrain variation.
  4. Click on the Cut/Fill button to launch the calculation.
  5. A progress bar in the bottom left displays and the Cut/Fill map is created in the Viewport
  6. Quantities are available in the Information box. 


The Cut/Fill tool allows you to create a Cut/Fill maps that visualize your site and where changes have taken place. Quantified numeric information is also displayed in the Information box to the bottom left of the software. 

It is typical to perform a Cut/Fill calculation between two drone surveys acquired on two separate dates. In these cases, you are assessing the work that has been accomplished during that specific period of time. 

If you want to determine the remaining earthwork or compare it to a design, you need to import the design surface into Virtual Surveyor. Create a new Terrain State and drop the design CAD file in the project view. Make sure to select the design surface and click on the Modify terrain button available in SELECTION - TOOLS for Surface. Switch to the current terrain state and select the design terrain state as a reference before launching the Volume Difference calculation. You can then measure the dirt to be moved using the same process as the quick steps, except you're comparing it to the design surface. 

Cut areas appear in warm colors (yellow to red) and fill areas appear in cool colors (cyan to blue).

Tips & Tricks

  • You can easily "clean" your terrain states to remove construction equipment using the Replace Terrain and Remove Object. This removes them from the calculation and they will not be 0included on the map or the volume calculations.
  • Highlight significant earthwork areas and enhance the color appearance by fine-tuning the Cut/Fill map settings available in the SELECTION - TOOLS for Cut/Fill.
  • You can go deeper into the Cut/Fill analysis by breaking down the Cut/Fill map into a separate area. This allows you to deliver more detailed quantity reports. Use the Extract Cut/Fill Area tool to achieve this.
  • Use Cut/Fill annotations to create a spot map showing sections of Cut/Fill.