The free Valley version of Virtual Surveyor includes tools which allow you to create basic topo features. It is then possible to export those project items to your desired CAD or GIS for further work. Below is a workflow to go from your drone data to a topographic survey delivered as a CAD file. 

All the steps described below are available in the free Valley version of Virtual Surveyor. Make sure to check out our advanced Versions of Virtual Surveyor that enable productivity tools and other features to enhance your drone surveys!


  1. Create a project.
  2. Import your drone data.
  3. Check or set the coordinate system.
  4. Organize your project with layers.
  5. Survey topographic items.
  6. Export your topographic survey.

Supported input data formats

Virtual Surveyor is not an image processing solution. It is a surveying, earthworks, and modeling software that uses the data created by your other photogrammetric products. 

The export files you want from your photogrammetric software are preferably an Orthomosaic and Digital Surface Model (DSM / DEM) in GeoTIFF (.TIFF) format. Keep in mind, you can import the point cloud as a .LAS or .LAZ file, but there is typically not an advantage unless using LiDAR data. 

Create a new project and import data

When starting Virtual Surveyor, click on New, give a name to your project and select the save location. You can use a Dropbox location to improve the collaborative experience or a local drive. If you work locally, se a non-networked local drive (SSD if available) to enjoy a fast and smooth experience. Then click on Create Project

Drag your data into the application or click on the or choose files button to add data to your project. Your DSM / DEM or point cloud will create the elevation terrain, while the Orthophoto will add the color and imagery

See more details HERE

Coordinate system

Virtual Surveyor uses the coordinate reference system defined in your photogrammetry data. Typically this is set when you create your Othophoto and DSM in your photogrammetry software. You can check the current coordinate system of the project in the status bar

If your dataset does not contain coordinate reference system information, it will display as UNDEFINED. This can either mean your data is in a local unknown system, or is in the correct system but the input GeoTIFF files did not define it. You can set or change the coordinate system by clicking on the status bar. 

Tip: Use EPSG codes to easily select your project coordinate system.

Layer management

Create layers to give structure to your project. For example, you can create layers to store specific project items like points or polylines. You can also structure your project with topic layers like roads, curbs, markings, etc. The exported CAD file will maintain this layer structure.

Project items drawing

Depending on the item you will create, choose the appropriate active layer. Use the drawing tools available in the HOME tab to add items to your project. The free Valley version includes Points, Polylines and Boundary tools. You can set display settings for your items (color, shape, size and thickness) through the Styling group. 

Export topographic survey

When your topographic survey is complete, you can export the project as a CAD file. Virtual Surveyor is able to export your project as a .dxf, .xml, .shp or .kml file. You can also export point items to a .csv format. Go to the EXPORT tab, set the desired format and click on Export Survey.

Note: Export Survey works on the principle "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG). All the visible items in the viewport are exported. Use the checkboxes in the project view to manage the items to be exported.