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. It is also possible to automatically generate a user friendly PDF report or export the results as .CSV or GIS files.

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 [optional].
  6. Calculate the stockpile.
  7. Set the visualization options.
  8. Export results and report.

Preparation : stockpile terrain cleaning

It's important to remove objects that hang over the pile before launching a stockpile calculation. 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 outline the stockpile. 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

Select the appropriate reference type depending on the use case. Here are the available reference types: 3D Surface, Flat, Flat Minimum or Terrain State. You can choose the reference type in the Volumes group of the SELECTION - TOOLS tab

Free Stockpile

Select 3D Surface. The base surface is triangulated on the vertices of the stockpile 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. Use a boundary that follows the walls to create the baseline. 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

Compare the stockpile to a defined flat floor level. Select the Flat method and set the level value in the elevation box.

Stockpile over time

Compare with the previous surveys and analyze stockpile differential. Select Terrain State and choose 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 which forms the stockpile from the Material dropdown menu. You can create and manage materials using the Material Editor. "Undefined" is by default the only available option. 

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

Stockpile Calculation

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

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

Results visualization  

Stockpile inventory results are available in the Volume box. Activate Volume checkbox in the annotation settings that you find in the SELECTION - TOOLS for Stockpile to display the net volume value within the viewport.

Export results

In the Export tab, you find multiple options to export the stockpile calculation results in the Stockpile group.

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

You can also export stockpile values as a spreadsheet (.csv) or GIS file (.shp). Set the right export format in the box and click on the Export Stockpiles button.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can 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 stockpile boundaries. For example, if you have to regularly monitor stockpiles that keep the same bases, you can import DXF bases file.
  • Use the top-down 2D mode to get a better volume annotations visualization within the viewport.
  • If the stockpiles overlap, use Interpolate Z feature to draw the boundary.