Applicable plans
Valley Ridge Peak

Virtual Surveyor includes a Terrain State feature that helps you to manage your earthwork or mining projects over time. Indeed with drone surveying, surveyors get bunch of data to manage. It's not necessarily easy to keep everything in order.

This article shows you how to use this Terrain State tool and how it makes your project management easier.

Quick Usage Guide

  1. Create a project and import the first drone data set.
  2. Go to the Terrain State tool to rename it.

  3. Create a second terrain state.

  4. Select the second terrain state.

  5. Import the second data set.
  6. Create as many terrain state as there are drone surveys and import each data set in the dedicated terrain state.

Hints: You can delete a terrain state by clicking the cross button. It will remove all items and references to this terrain state from your project.


  • Job site management over time through time lapse. If your project contains multiple terrain states, you can easily switch from a drone survey to another by selecting the terrain state in the drop-down menu.

  • Earthwork monitoring over time via Cut/Fill maps between terrain states. Use the Cut/Fill tool. Have a look to that video to get more details about the workflow.

  • Assess earthwork to be done by comparing terrain state to design surfaces (DXF file). Import that CAD file in a terrain state to use it as reference for Cut/Fill map.

  • Mining Projects monitoring over time. Use Cut/Fill maps and pinned items between terrain states to assess blasting areas or extraction zones progress. Have a look to that video about dredging operations in a sand pit.

  • Baseline creation by converting a low-pass point surface into a terrain state to be used as reference base for cut/fill calculations on each other terrain state.

Tips and Tricks

  • Name terrain states with survey dates to easily manage them. Use the date format YYYY-MM-DD (e.g. 2019-07-18 for July 18th, 2019) and terrain states are automatically put in order in the drop-down menu.
  • You can move items from a terrain state to another by using cut/paste tools.
  • Terrestrial surveys can be imported as terrain state.
  • Use the pin option in the project view to make a survey item available in all terrain states. 
  • Clean terrain tools only apply to the selected terrain state.

Related video

Terrain States [5 ideas]