Sometimes you need to complete your drone survey with terrestrial data. These additional points can be measured by any type of terrestrial survey equipment and imported into Virtual Surveyor to complete your model.

To import your terrestrial data into Virtual Surveyor you need to format the CSV points file correctly.

This article explains how to correctly format and import a CSV file. We go through the entire process of adding survey items under a bridge to complete a road survey, thanks to additional total station data.


CSV File Format

To be compatible with Virtual Surveyor, your CSV file needs to be in a proper format. 

Make sure the CSV file has column headers. The first line of the point file should at least contain a field called "X", another called "Z", and one called "Y". You can also include optional fields called "P", "D", "Name", or "Layer". 

  • P - Point number
  • X - Easting coordinate of the point
  • Y - Northing coordinate of the point
  • Z - Elevation of the point
  • D - Descriptor
  • Name - Point name
  • Layer - Point layer

More headers are recognized by Virtual Surveyor for these properties. See additional info in the Tips and Tricks section below.

The order of the column is not significant; you can move the columns as long as the letter is in the same order as its respective column. It's not an issue if the files contain extra columns generated by the survey equipment. Virtual Surveyor only reads the data in the columns with PXYZD headers. 

CSV Import

You can easily import a well-formatted CSV file. Drag and drop the file in the Project View or click on choose files in the bottom section of the project view. Your points are automatically added to a new layer.

Using Your Total Station Data

Draw Survey Items Under a Bridge

To illustrate the point file import, see the steps and images below to add total station data to model the terrain under a bridge. It is not possible to see the terrain under the bridge with the initial drone dataset.

  1. Drag and drop the CSV point file in the Project View.
  2. Use the Transparent Terrain Lens to see the points under the bridge.
  3. Draw lines to connect the points and create the survey under the bridge.
  4. Triangulate the survey to create the surface under the bridge
  5. The road survey is complete both above and under the bridge, and can now be exported. 

Tips and Tricks

  • The CSV file is formatted according to your Windows regional settings. Before importing a CSV be sure to set different symbols for decimals and list separators. Have a look at that Windows support article to learn more about how to tune those settings. If you change your regional settings, don't forget to restart Virtual Surveyor before launching another point import.

  • Instead of importing a point file, you can also use a CAD file exported from your survey equipment. In addition to points, those files can contain other survey items like lines or boundaries. File formats include Shapefile (.shp), and Drawing Exchange Format (.dxf).

PropertySupported headers (case not sensitive)
Easting coordinate of the pointx
x coord
x coordinate
Northing coordinate of the pointy
y coord
y coordinate
Elevation of the pointz
z coord
z coordinate
Point namename
Point numbernumber
Point descriptordescriptor
Point layerlayer