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 volumes.


  1. Clean the stockpile terrain.
  2. Draw the stockpile boundary
  3. Create a reference surface
  4. Calculate stockpile volume.
  5. Set the visualization options.
  6. Export volume result.

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

Free stockpile

To create the reference surface, you need a boundary that surrounds the stockpile. Base triangles are built on the vertices of this boundary, their Z values are very important. It's essential to accurately draw the line at the bottom of 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. 

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. 

Reference surface

Free Stockpile

When the boundary is completed, make sure to select it and create the base surface by using Triangulate Within tool available in the SELECTION - TOOLS for Boundary

Walled stockpile

To create the base surface, select the boundary that you have drawn within the walls and use the Triangulate Within button available in the HOME tab. Select flat method and make sure the Flat Minimum checkbox is activated to generate a reference surface under the stockpile.


Volume Calculation

Select the base surface and launch the stockpile calculation by clicking on the Calculate Volume button in the Volumes group of the TOOLS tab.

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

Results visualization and export  

Cut and fill values are available in the Volume box. If you want to display those values within the viewport activate Volume checkbox in the Annotation settings that you'll find in the SELECTION - TOOLS for Volume.

You can export volume values as a spreadsheet (.csv) or as a CAD (.dxf) or GIS file (.shp). Select the volume item and go to the EXPORT tab. Set the right export format in the box and click on Export Volume button.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can create multiple base surfaces at the same time. Select all the boundaries before going through the surface creation process. In the same way, you can also launch multiple volume calculations in one click by selecting multiple surface items before clicking on Calculate Volume button.
  • You can use the Quick Surface tool available in the HOME tab to merge boundary and reference surface creation in the case of a free pile.
  • 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.

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