A common output from a surveyor's field collector is a Common Separated Values (CSV) file that contains survey points. These survey points can be imported into Virtual Surveyor for use with your drone dataset. To import and ensure your .csv file is compatible with Virtual Surveyor, you'll need to organize the data in the .csv file for Virtual Surveyor to read it properly.


How to Import Points with a CSV File

To import points with a .csv (or .txt) file, you can use one of two options:

  1. Drag and drop your data anywhere in the Virtual Surveyor or click or choose files and load your data.

The information is loaded instantly and can be viewed on your Elevation Terrain as well as in the Project View.

CSV File Format

You can preview and change the .csv file information in programs like Excel or Notepad. Virtual Surveyor can read a .csv file that contains the following rows and columns of information:

  • Column Headers
  • Coordinates + Point Number, Descriptor, and Layer
  • EPSG Code (optional)

Note: The column separators used in your .csv file are formatted according to your Windows regional settings.

Column Headers

You will need to make sure the .csv file has column headers. The point file must contain X, Y, and fields at a minimum. You can also include optional fields under the P, D, or Layer headers. Virtual Surveyor uses the PXYZD column headers by default. 

  • P - Point number
  • X - Easting/Westing coordinate of the point
  • Y - Northing/Southing coordinate of the point
  • Z - Elevation of the point
  • D - Descriptor 
  • Layer - Point layer (optional)

Column Order and Options

The order of the columns is not significant, just make sure that the column header is over the appropriate information in each respective column. It's not an issue if the files contain extra columns generated by the survey equipment as Virtual Surveyor only reads the data in the columns with PXYZD, along with the additional header Layer.

  You have three options for including or excluding the Layer column header in the .csv file:
  1. Exclude the Layer header.

    A new Layer is created using the .csv file name and Points are placed into the newly created Layer.

  2. Include a Layer header along with the layer name(s) you want for your points.

    New Layers are created in Virtual Surveyor and Points are placed in their respectively named Layers.

  3. Include a Layer header but leave the column empty.

    Points are placed into No Layer.


The EPSG code is completely optional to include as part of your .csv file import. It is a simple but powerful method for manually defining a Data Coordinate System to your project items before you load them into Virtual Surveyor. When your project has a defined coordinate system that is different than the EPSG code included in your .csv file, Virtual Surveyor automatically converts the coordinates in your .csv file to the defined coordinate system of your project.

If you do plan on including an EPSG number with your project items, place it in the first row of your .csv file without any spaces, and ensure it includes the "#" symbol, "EPSG", the colon ":", followed by the area number, e.g., "#EPSG:1234".

When using an EPSG code in a .csv/.txt file for Virtual Surveyor, only the X and Y point coordinates are reprojected; the Z point reference remains unaltered. In Terrain Creator, the X, Y, and Z camera position coordinates will all be reprojected.

Tips & Tricks

  • Z Coordinate Information:
    • If the Z column is included in your .csv/.txt file, the point will use the respective Z coordinate as its elevation.
    • If the Z column is not included in your .csv/.txt file, the point will be placed on the terrain elevation at its respective X, Y location (the same as if you use the To Terrain feature on a selected point)
  • Use Cases: