Applicable plans
Valley Ridge Peak

Virtual Surveyor first goal is to lighten drone survey data to make those easier to use in traditional surveying workflow. Create a lightweight TIN Surface from your elevation terrain can be seen as a first step in lots of surveying workflow. Within Virtual Surveyor a surface allows you to calculate volumes, draw contour lines and Cut/Fill maps... Of course it's possible to export that 3D surface as most commonly used CAD formats. 


  1. Import your drone survey.
  2. Create survey items (points, breaklines, point grids...).
  3. In the HOME tab, click Triangulate All (3D).
  4. Check and edit your surface.
  5. Display contour lines.
  6. Export the surface.

Import data

Drag and drop your drone survey dataset (Orthophoto + DSM)  into the project view to create a Terrain State. If you have more than one drone survey of the same area use the Terrain State feature to manage these (Peak version user only).

Survey items

Like a surveyor in the field, measure points and breaklines that are typical of the surface to be modeled.

Points can be drawn thanks to the Point tool available in the HOME tab. You can also use the Point Grid tool and its various type of grid (Q-Points, Low-pass, Triangular and Rectangular) to speed up that process. 

Use the Polyline tool from the HOME tab to add breaklines. Peak user can activate the Guided Breakline Tool to make the line selection easier and quicker.

You can also draw boundaries. They can be used as survey item and also to launch Point Grid algorithms.

Surface Triangulation

In the HOME tab, go to the Toposurface group. Set the triangulation method as 3D and click Triangulate All. The TIN surface is created.

Surface edit

Some interpolations may not be necessary. Use the Remove Triangles tool available in the TOOLS tab to clean the surface.

The surface creation can be seen as an iterative process. If you are not satisfied with the surface model, delete it, add more survey items and relaunch the triangulation. 

Surface visualization

By default, surfaces display as TIN. Nevertheless, you can hide the triangles and show the contours. You can also fine tune surface style settings in the TOOLS tab.

Surface export

If you want to use your surface in a third party software, export the surface as a .dxf, .xml or .shp file. Export feature works as "what you see is what you get", if contour lines and/or survey items are displayed they are exported together with the TIN surface.   

Tips & tricks

  • If you want to model a simple surface only defined by its boundary, you can use the Quick Surface tool available in the HOME tab. 
  • If you project contains a lot of survey items and you want to create a surface in a specific area, draw a boundary around that area to limit the triangulation. Then select that boundary, the Triangulate All button turns into Triangulate Within button and when you click on it, the TIN surface is created only within the boundary.