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Stockpile Volumes using Drone

Drone Service, Scotland & England

Whether you work in the construction, mining or aggregates industry, inventory management is a key operation on any job site. 

stockpile volumes of quarry using drone

Drones for Stockpile Management 

Drones can be used for stockpile management in various industries, including construction, mining, and agriculture. By using drones to monitor and manage stockpiles, companies can improve their efficiency and reduce costs.

Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can capture high-resolution images and data of stockpiles, allowing for more detailed and accurate measurements of volume and density. This can help with inventory management, planning, and optimization.

For example, in the construction industry, drones can be used to monitor the stockpiles of materials such as gravel, sand, and cement. By regularly capturing images and data of the stockpiles, companies can track their levels, identify any changes or discrepancies, and make adjustments as necessary.

How Are Stockpile Volumes Measured Traditionally?

On a given site could take a surveyor, using traditional handheld equipment, such as laser scanner or total station, it may take around a day to measure the stockpiles on site and process the data. 

To do this, they must navigate the busy work site and climb large stockpiles which is dangerous and time consuming.

Dependent on how much material was being measured, the measuring process could take hours or days with manual tools.

Limited data points are captured leading to an average measurement being calculated.

RTK Mavic 3 Enterprise drone for stockpile measurements

In some cases, companies will simply “eyeball” a stockpile - an approach riddled with inaccuracies that should be avoided at all costs.


Manual data-collection techniques are conducted in hard-to-reach locations, where personnel can be exposed to dangerous terrain, hazardous materials or situations.

How Can Drones Be Used For Stockpile Measurement and Analysis?

The method for using a drone to calculate stockpiles begins with preparation, initially completed off site.

A flight plan is drawn and loaded to the drones flight control software where the flight pattern is calculated.

The remote pilot will input some variables about the area being flown such as height, speed and camera parameters.

Visual Pursuit use RTK equipped drones to ensure consistency and accuracy in the data collected. This is confirmed by the placement of ground control point (or GCP's) around the site.

The drone will automatically fly the planned flight path, capturing a series of overlapped images of the site including the stockpiles themselves.

The remote pilot does not need to move around the site as long as they can see the drone throughout the flight. This means they can stand off at a safe location and observe the drone.

Once image collection is complete, images are certified on site before being processed using specialist software.

This software will incorporate the GCP's to ensure the data is accurate and in the correct coordinate system.

A digital terrain model is generated from which a triangular irregular network (TIN) surface is created of the site and the target stockpiles.

From this TIN, the volume can be calculated and the tonnage also estimated (if we know the grade / density of the material).

Software is used to compile a stockpile volume report to be shared with the client.

Cloud software can also be used to share the surface model with the project team and their surveyors / engineers. They can then work with the data as if they had collected it themselves.

Why Use Drones For Stockpile Volumes?

There are 3 main benefits are immediately realised:

  • Reduced amount of time on and off site

  • Reduced risk to engineer/surveyors

  • Reduction in Cost

Reducing cost and risk while taking stockpile measurements is just one of a number of ways drones are saving construction companies money.

  • Improved Supply Chain Logistics

  • Detailed Company Forecasts

  • Reduced Write Offs

stockpile measurements by drone

Industries using Drone Volumetric Surveying

  • Construction (especially earthworks)

  • Landfill

  • Quarrying & Mining

  • Soil Supplies

  • Soil & Construction Materials Recycling

Time and Cost Saving

A 25ha site can be surveyed by drone in under an hour; a 100ha site can be surveyed in a single day.

Data can be made available the same day if required, however usually delivered within 24 - 48 hours.

This means accurate data is delivered near real-time. Due to the speed and cost benefits of a drone survey, it can be repeated more frequently.

Having such accurate data in a timely manner helps project managers improve their decision-making when it comes to stockpile inventory management. To efficiently manage their supply chain, construction companies need accurate information from when the project starts to its finish.

Construction companies can avoid unexpected costs by starting with accurate information early on.

Safety Aspect

Many surveyors do not enjoy gathering stockpile data because it’s a dangerous job, climbing large piles of unstable material, which puts them at risk for falls and injury.

On busy construction sites, there’s heavy machinery traveling around the site to be mindful of.

Drones enable safe and accurate stockpile measurements by enabling workers to collect measurements from a safe location. A pre-programmed flight pattern enables the drone to effectively fly the mission itself, with a remote pilot and visual observer ensuring the flight goes safely and smoothly.  

ConstructionLine & SSIP (Safety Schemes in Procurement)

As a drone company, being a Constructionline member and having SSIP accreditation offer several benefits. Firstly, Constructionline membership streamlines the pre-qualification process, saving us time and effort in demonstrating our compliance with industry standards, such as health and safety, technical capabilities, and financial stability. This can improve our chances of winning contracts and gaining access to a wide range of construction projects.

Secondly, having SSIP accreditation demonstrates our commitment to maintaining high levels of health and safety in our operations, which is especially crucial in the drone industry where safety is our main priority. It shows that we have implemented robust safety protocols and procedures to protect our workers, clients, the public and minimises risks associated with our services.

Moreover, being a Constructionline member and having SSIP accreditation enhances our credibility and reputation within the construction industry. It reassures our clients that we have undergone thorough assessments by reputable organisations and have met recognised industry standards, which can give them confidence in our reliability and ability to deliver projects safely, efficiently, and in compliance with regulations.


Drones are increasingly being used for surveying and mapping in a variety of industries, including construction, mining, agriculture, and environmental management. The use of drones for surveying has several benefits, including:

  1. Improved Efficiency: Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can capture high-resolution images and data of large areas quickly and accurately, reducing the time and cost required for traditional surveying methods.

  2. Increased Safety: Surveying often involves working in hazardous environments, such as on steep terrain, in mines, or on construction sites. Drones can be used to survey these areas without putting workers at risk.

  3. More Accurate Data: Drones can capture high-resolution images and data, providing more detailed and accurate information than traditional surveying methods. This data can be used for a range of purposes, including planning, design, and monitoring.

  4. Better Visualization: Drones can capture aerial imagery and 3D models of survey areas, providing a more comprehensive and detailed view of the site than traditional methods.

Overall, drones offer many benefits for surveying and mapping, including increased efficiency, safety, accuracy, and visualization. With advances in drone technology, it is likely that they will become an increasingly important tool for surveying in a range of industries.

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Based in Scotland and regularly travel throughout Scotland & England, delivering services in both cities and rural areas.

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Overall Summary

The advantages of using drones for stockpile measurements are evident. Drones increase the speed, accuracy, and frequency of stockpile measurements while improving worker safety, reducing expenses, and accelerating better decision-making and planning for construction companies.

How Are Drones Impacting The Construction Industry?

Since drones came about they have significantly impacted the construction industry in many ways, for example;

  1. Improved efficiency: Drones can quickly and accurately survey and map job sites, allowing construction teams to plan and execute their work more efficiently.

  2. Increased safety: By using drones to inspect structures and monitor job sites, construction companies can identify potential safety hazards and take action to address them before they cause accidents or injuries.

  3. Cost savings: Drones can help construction companies save money by reducing the need for manual labor and expensive equipment, as well as by identifying and addressing issues before they become more costly problems.

  4. Enhanced data collection and analysis: Drones can collect a wide range of data, including 3D maps, thermal imagery, and video footage, which can be analyzed to gain insights into job site conditions and performance.

  5. Improved communication and collaboration: Drones can provide real-time visual data and information to stakeholders, allowing for better communication and collaboration among construction teams, architects, and project managers.


Overall, drones are transforming the construction industry by improving efficiency, safety, and collaboration while reducing costs and providing valuable data and insights.

Our Drone Services

One stop shop

Visual Pursuit is a family-owned drone solution business based in Scotland, founded in 2017. We provide our services throughout Scotland & North England. Delivering a fast and reliable solution to our clients that's both time saving and cost-effective compared to traditional methods. We strive to be the future in visual solutions.


We are governed, regulated and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).


Our pilots hold all relevant certificates (A2 CofC & GVC) and are approved to pilot under Visual Pursuit's 'Operational Authorisation', this is our rule book given by the CAA to Operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), this enables us to get close to involved and uninvolved persons when completing tasks for our customers.


The latest in drone technology. Visual Pursuit's collection of drones are capable of capturing accurate surveying data, stunning aerial photography, video, high zoom, thermal imaging, RTK and a whole lot more.


We have many years of experience when it comes to video and photo editing, processing of data to be used in surveying, 3D modelling, stockpile volumes and cut-and-fill analysis.​


When it comes to insurance, Visual Pursuit Ltd is fully insured to work in all environments, our public liability covers us for up to £1,000,000.00 GBP this can be increased depending on the type of task we are being requested to carry out.


We are the one stop shop for drone solutions and offer free no obligation quotes.

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