Surveyors are often hired to validate the capacity of water pits used in fracking. Virtual Surveyor includes tools to measure the capacity directly from your drone data. For example, it is critical to validate the exact volume of a pit before safely putting it into operation.

This article provides a quick step-by-step guide for measuring empty basins or retention/detention pit volumes.

Note: This type of workflow is only useful for an empty basin or pit. Photogrammetric image processing does not create accurate data when looking at or through bodies of water.


Extract the Water Level

Use the Extract Level tool—available in the HOME tab—to determine the water level. 

  1. Place the cursor at the expected filling level and left-click. 
    1. A Boundary is created within the pond.


If an open polyline is created, or if the boundary gets out of the basin, the area you tried to extract the water level at is too high, or your drone data may be too "noisy" for the Extract Level tool to accurately identify the slope. You can create the boundary manually or edit the boundary using the Edit tools in the TOOLS tab for Boundary. Or you can simply delete the boundary and try placing the extraction line at a lower point on the terrain.

Calculate the Retention Volume

To calculate the water volume: 

  1. Select the water level boundary you created with the Extract tool. 
  2. Go to the TOOLS tab for Boundary and click Cut/Fill.
    1. A progress bar appears in the lower-left corner. 
  3. When the calculation is complete, a Cut/Fill boundary is created in the layer panel; you can also see the blue color indicating the "Fill" level, shown inside your water surface boundary.

While the Cut/Fill Boundary is highlighted in your layers, you can also see the volume measurements in the Selection Box.

Show Annotated Volume Information

You can show volume data directly on the Main View of your screen by annotating the image. 

  1. With the Cut/Fill boundary selected, go to the TOOLS tab for Cut/Fill.
  2. In the Annotations section, tick the Volume box to show the calculated total volume over the fracking pit.


Tips and Tricks

  • Using layers in the Project Items panel, you can set multiple water levels to analyze different water fill scenarios.
  • You can produce a report in Excel with information that is exported from Virtual Surveyor:

  • You can also complete the analysis report with measurements for the dimensions of the pit and the embankment slopes. Use the Measurement Tools available in the ANALYSIS tab.