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Stockpile measurement with Fixed-wing

Every new technology is based on people, who have been there since its beginnings. At 3Dsurvey we are aware that every new user needs a support from a professional which knows how to get the most of our software. When you buy our software we also include in the full support and training. We are in personal contact with our distributors, who can later on pass the knowledge to the users of our software.

One of our distributors used our software to show one of his customers how to create an accurate, fast and effective measurements of a large stockpile in Arizona. Stockpiles need to get measured regularly in order to monitor the volume and the quality of the material on this area.

When it comes to stockpiles it is of a greatest challenge to find an easy way to measure the volume of a place that does not adhere to the optimal shape. Due to the various qualities of our software, measurements of this kind of stockpile inventory are done 10 times quicker than in the past. This showcase will explain the simple, yet very effective workflow which was measured using 3Dsurvey software.

For the stockpile in this example, Nick used UAS Bramor PPK, which has a total flight time of 3,5h, but for this area of the size of 2400 x 4700 feet (732×1433 m), this drone was in the air for 45 min. A smaller drone, in the size of a Phantom 4 Pro, would take much more time to measure this stockpile.

If Nick would be using the GPS and total station technique, the measurement of the similar, but lesser quality would take around 3 days. Besides this, he would need a lot more manpower than as he did now, when there were only 2 people on the terrain. 

To produce a detailed map and study of a stockpile, it is important to make high resolution images. In this case Nick used Sony Alpha 6000, that resulted in total number of 3370 photos, taken while the UAS in use was flying at the height of 400 feet.

As mentioned before, image processing was done using the 3Dsurvey software. GPS data from GCPs positioned on site was used to orientate the model to generate a dense 3D point cloud from aerial images.

Project Tools & Specs

  • Drone & Software: FixCastral Bramor ppX + 3Dsurvey
  • Flight details: 45 -min flights at 400 feet AGL
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000 with modified lens
  • Positioning & Orientation: UAS Integrated GNSS PPK – Post Processing Kinematic, independent 9x GCPs measured w/ Leica GPS
  • Photogrammetric processing & Outputs: 3Dsurvey
  • Number of Images: 3370
  • Image overlap: 80%
  • Area size: 500 Acre (200 Ha)