Applicable plans
Valley Ridge Peak

Surveyors are used to measure stockpile volumes on construction and mining sites but also in quarries, aggregates storage sites or landfill areas. Drone surveying is a game changer in those use cases. It's now quicker, easier and safer to collect data over large stockpiles. Nevertheless, it's not necessarily easy to use drone data to generate robust stockpile calculation reports. Virtual Surveyor includes tools that help surveyors to perform those calculations in a simple and accurate way. 

This article describes a step by step guide to help you calculate your stockpile.


  1. Clean the stockpile terrain.
  2. Draw the stockpile boundary
  3. Select that boundary.
  4. Choose a reference surface type
  5. Select the material.
  6. Calculate the stockpile.
  7. Set the visualization options.
  8. Export results and report.

Preparation : stockpile terrain cleaning

Before launching a stockpile calculation, it's important to remove objects that hang over the pile. Indeed you don't want to include them into the material volume. Conveyors and machines like wheel loaders are often over stockpile. In general, the first step is to remove those objects by using Replace terrain tool. 

Notes! Peak user can speed that process up by using the Remove Objects productivity tool.

You can have a look to that article that describes how to remove conveyor even in a complex environment.

Stockpile baseline

You need a boundary that surrounds the stockpile. Use the Boundary tool to draw the base line. To easily identify the bottom of the stockpile, activate the Slope Steepness Terrain Lens.

Notes! Peak user can activate the Guided Breakline Tool to make the line selection easier and quicker around free stockpile.

Reference surface

Depending on the use case, select the appropriate Reference Type for the stockpile volume calculation: 3D Surface, Flat, Flat Minimum or Terrain State. You can choose the Reference Type in the Volumes group of the SELECTION - TOOLS tab when a boundary is selected. 

Free Stockpile

Select 3D Surface. Base triangles are built on the vertices of the boundary, their Z values are very important. It's essential to accurately draw the line at the bottom of the stockpile. 

Walled stockpile

Stockpiles areas are sometimes organized with walled spaces. In that specific case, it's not possible to draw a boundary at the bottom of the stockpile. To create the baseline, use a boundary that follows the walls. You don't need to  take care of the vertices elevations but make sure that at least one vertex is placed on the ground in front of the stockpile. Select the Flat Minimum method to generate a reference surface under the stockpile at that ground level. 

Specific reference level

If you want to compare the stockpile to a defined flat floor level. Select the Flat method and set the ground level value in the elevation box.

Stockpile over time

Compare with the previous survey and analyze stockpile differential by selecting Terrain State and choosing the reference terrain state in the drop down menu. This feature is only available when the project contains multiple terrain states (Peak user only). 


Select the material that makes up the stockpile from the Material dropdown menu. By default, only Undefined is available. You can create and manage materials through the Material Editor.

Notes! It's possible to change the material after the stockpile creation via the SELECTION - TOOLS for Stockpile.

Volume Calculation

Launch the stockpile calculation by clicking on the Stockpile button in the Volumes group of the SELECTION - TOOLS tab.

The volume calculation is done between the current terrain and the selected reference type.

Results visualization and export  

Stockpiles volume values are available in the Volume box along with other inventory info. If you want to display that volume value within the viewport activate Volume checkbox in the Annotation settings that you'll find in the SELECTION - TOOLS for Stockpile.

You can create a Stockpile PDF report by clicking on PDF Export button in the EXPORT tab. 

You can also export stockpiles values as a spreadsheet (.csv) or GIS file (.shp). Go to the EXPORT tab. Set the right export format in the box and click on Export Stockpile button.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can also launch multiple stockpile calculations in one click by selecting multiple boundaries before clicking on Stockpile button.
  • It's possible to import DXF file to define stockpiles boundaries. For example, if you have to regularly monitor stockpiles that have the same base, you can import DXF bases file.
  • To get a better volume annotations visualization within the viewport use the top-down 2D mode.
  • If stockpiles overlap, use Interpolate Z feature to draw the boundary.