Surveyors measure stockpile volumes on construction and mining sites as well as quarries, aggregates storage sites, or landfill areas. Drone surveying is a game changer in those situations. It's now quicker, safer, and easier to collect data over large stockpiles; however, it can still be difficult to use drone data to generate stockpile calculation reports. Virtual Surveyor includes tools that help surveyors generate stockpile calculations in a simple and accurate manner, from the drone data. It is also possible to automatically generate a user-friendly PDF report or export the results as .CSV or GIS files.

This article describes a step-by-step guide to help you calculate your stockpile.


Clean the Stockpile Terrain

It is important to remove objects that hang over the pile before launching a stockpile calculation; you don't want to include them in the material volume calculation. Conveyors and machines—like wheel loaders—are often over stockpiles. In general, the first step is to remove those objects by using Replace Terrain tool. 

Note! Peak users can speed that process up by using the Remove Objects productivity tool.

You can have a look at our Remove a Conveyor article that describes how to remove a conveyor even in a complex environment.

Stockpile Baseline Boundary

You need a boundary that surrounds the stockpile. Use the Boundary tool to outline the stockpile. To easily identify the bottom of the stockpile, activate the Slope Steepness Terrain Lens.

Note! Peak users can activate the Guided Breakline Tool to make the line selection easier and quicker around freestanding stockpiles.

Reference Surface Type

Select the appropriate reference type depending on the use case. Here are the available reference types: 

  • 3D Surface
  • Flat
  • Flat Minimum
  • Terrain State

You can choose the reference type in the Volumes group of the TOOLS for Boundary tab

Freestanding Stockpile

Select 3D Surface, the base surface is triangulated on the vertices of the stockpile boundary; their Z values are very important. It is essential to accurately draw the line along the bottom of the stockpile. 

Walled Stockpile

Stockpile areas are sometimes organized with walled spaces. In that specific case, it is not possible to draw a boundary at the bottom of the stockpile. Use a boundary that follows the walls to create the baseline. You won't need to take care of the vertices elevations, but you should ensure that at least one vertex is placed on the ground in front of the stockpile. Select the Flat Minimum method to generate a reference surface under the stockpile at that ground level. 

Specific Reference Level

Compare the stockpile to a defined flat floor level. Select the Flat method and set the level value in the elevation box.

Stockpile Over Time

Compare with the previous surveys and analyze stockpile differential. Select Terrain State and choose the reference Terrain State in the drop-down menu. This feature is only available when the project contains multiple Terrain States (Peak user only). 

Material Types for Stockpiles

Select the material for the stockpile type from the Material dropdown menu. You can create and manage materials using the Material Editor. "Undefined" is the only available option by default. 

Notes! It's possible to change the material after the stockpile creation via the TOOLS for Stockpile.

Stockpile Calculation

Launch the stockpile calculation by clicking on the Stockpile button in the Volumes group of the TOOLS for Stockpile tab.

The stockpile calculation is done between the current terrain and the selected reference type.

Results Visualization Options

Stockpile inventory results are available in the Volume section of the HOME tab. Tick the Volume checkbox in the annotation settings found in the TOOLS for Stockpile tab to display the net volume value within the Viewport.

Export the Results

In the Export tab, there are multiple options to export the stockpile calculation results in the Stockpile group.

You can create a Stockpile PDF report by clicking on the PDF Export button. 

You can also export stockpile values as a spreadsheet (.csv) or GIS file (.shp). Set the appropriate export format in the box and click Export Stockpiles.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can launch multiple stockpile calculations in one click by selecting multiple boundaries before clicking on the Stockpile button.
  • It is possible to import a DXF file to define stockpile boundaries. For example, if you have to regularly monitor stockpiles that keep the same bases, you can import a DXF bases file.
  • Use the top-down 2D mode to get a better volume annotations visualization within the Viewport.
  • If the stockpiles overlap, use Interpolate Z feature to draw the boundary.