The Replace Terrain tool cleans your data by removing surface objects that are not part of the elevation terrain with just a few clicks. You can find the Replace Terrain button in the Tools group of the HOME tab

When finding elevation differences or volume on a terrain from a drone survey, the terrain may contain man-made objects that should not be included in the elevation or volume measurements. On mining and construction sites, conveyors and other operation structures are common examples of objects that should be removed. You can also use the Replace Terrain tool as part of a workflow for stockpile calculationsTo better understand why you remove items from your elevation terrain, read the To Clean or Not to Clean article that explains how to decide when to clean the terrain.

In the HOME tab, you can also find the Remove Object tool that delivers similar results in one click. The Remove Object tool is only available in the Peak plan and works best on discrete surface items such as cars, machines, etc. 

Remove ObjectReplace Terrain
WorkflowOne-click Multiple clicks 
Main featureFaster and easierMore control
Applicable plan(s)PeakRidge and Peak

Quick Usage Guide

  1. Go to the HOME tab.
  2. Enable Replace Terrain mode by clicking on the Replace Terrain button.
  3. Use left-click to draw a polygon around the object you want to remove.
  4. Right-click to finish selecting the object.
  5. The object is flattened to the selected area at terrain level (created as a terrain modifier in the Project View). 
  6. Once all objects are removed and cleaned from the elevation terrain, you can exit the Replace Terrain mode by clicking on the Replace Terrain button again or by right-clicking in the Viewport.

When to Use the Replace Terrain Function

The Replace Terrain tool may take a little more time to outline items you want to remove but gives you complete control for modifying the terrain where an object is resting. 

  • You can use it to remove large and small vehicles and machines (excavators, bulldozers, cars, pickup trucks, etc.).

  • Remove conveyors and have them conform to stockpiles or the terrain. 

  • Remove materials (manholes, pipes, shipping containers, etc.).

  • Remove machines that stand on a slope or a ditch where the Remove Object tool typically doesn't work. 

Tips and Tricks 

  • When the elevation terrain below objects is complex enough that creating terrain modifiers is more work than necessary, it makes sense to create a surface with breaklines and points to modify the elevation terrain. Instead of using the Replace Terrain or Remove Object tools, you can create a surface TIN on the terrain that ignores the objects that are resting on the terrain. You can then use the Modify Terrain button available in the Terrain section of the TOOLS tab to create a Terrain Modifier. This workflow method may be useful when conveyor arms cross quarry high walls. 
  • The terrain modifications you make using the Replace Terrain tool can always be removed, and you can return to your original elevation data by turning off the Terrain Modifiers within the Project View.