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

  1. Use the Extract Level tool—available in the HOME tab—to determine the water level.
  2. Place the cursor at the estimated filling level and left click.
    1. A Boundary or Polyline is created within the pond.


If a polyline is created instead of a boundary item, it is likely that your selected elevation for the estimated water fill level is too high. You can also create the boundary manually or edit the boundary using the Edit Vertex tool 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.

Note: When you activate the Extract Level tool, you'll see a number in a box next to your cursor; this number shows the elevation of where your cursor is at on the Elevation Terrain and shows where your extracted line will be created.

Calculate the Retention Volume

To calculate the water volume: 

  1. Select the water level boundary you created with the Extract Level tool. 
  2. Go to the TOOLS tab for Boundary and set the Reference Type to a 3D Surface in the Volumes section.
  3. Click Cut/Fill.
    1. A progress bar appears in the lower-left corner.
  4. When the calculation is complete, a Cut/Fill item is created in the Project View; you can also see the blue color indicating the "Fill" level, shown inside your cut/fill item (simulated water surface).

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

Display Annotated Volume Information

You can show volume data directly on the Viewport of your screen by adding an annotation to your cut/fill item. 

  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 wastewater pond.


Tips and Tricks

  • Using the layers in the Project View, 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 and turn it into a professional quality PDF (see the attachment at the bottom of this article for a sample report):

  • You can also complete the analysis report with measurements for the dimensions of the pit and the embankment slopes (examples are included in the attached sample report). You can find the Measurement Tools in the ANALYSIS tab.