How to Use Drones to Measure Stockpiles and Track Volumes More Accurately

07/03/24 1:53 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By: HallerConcepts

In the mining, construction, and aggregates industries, precise stockpile measurement is essential for effective inventory management and operational efficiency. Traditional methods can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and often less accurate. However, with the advent of drone technology, measuring stockpiles has become significantly more efficient and accurate. This guide explores how drones are transforming stockpile measurement and how your organization can benefit from this innovative approach.


The Advantages of Using Drones for Stockpile Measurement

Accurate and Efficient Data Collection

Drones enable quick and precise data collection by capturing geo-referenced images from above your worksite. Using photogrammetry, these images can be transformed into detailed 3D maps. Drone survey visualization software ensures high data accuracy, allowing for precise stockpile volume measurements.

Track Progress and Compare Surveys

Drone technology simplifies the process of comparing current stockpile volumes to previous surveys, helping you effectively track site progress. You can also compare drone surveys to final grade design files to determine how much material needs to be added or removed, ensuring your project stays on target.

Comprehensive 3D Mapping

Drones create detailed 3D maps of your site, providing both a visual representation and actionable data, including stockpile volume calculations. This level of detail and accuracy is invaluable for informed decision-making in inventory management and site planning.

Improved Safety

Traditional stockpile measurement methods often require personnel to climb stockpiles, posing safety risks. Drones eliminate this hazard by collecting data remotely, ensuring the safety of your workforce. At Haller Concepts, safety is our top priority. Our licensed pilots are FAA 107 compliant and Safe-To-Fly certified, meeting the highest safety standards.

Speed and Cost-Effectiveness

Drone surveys are faster than traditional methods, allowing for more frequent data collection and quicker turnaround times. This efficiency can lead to significant cost savings by reducing the time and labor needed for stockpile measurement while maintaining high accuracy.

Applications of Drone Surveying in Various Industries

Mining and Aggregates

For professionals in the mining and aggregates industries, stockpile inventory management is a key application of drone surveying. Accurate volume measurements are critical for managing inventory, planning operations, and meeting regulatory requirements. Drones provide a reliable and efficient means to collect this essential data.


Construction sites benefit greatly from drone surveying. Quick site surveys and detailed 3D maps help project managers track progress, manage resources, and ensure projects stay on schedule and within budget. The actionable data collected from drone flights supports informed decision-making and enhances overall project efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions About Drones and Volumetric Measuring

1. How accurate are drone surveys for volumetric measurements?

Drone surveys are highly accurate for volumetric measurements, often achieving accuracy within 1-2% of traditional ground survey methods. Accuracy depends on factors such as the drone’s camera quality, flight plan, and processing software used for generating 3D models and measurements.

2. What equipment is needed for drone volumetric measurements?

To conduct volumetric measurements using drones, you need:

  • A high-quality drone equipped with GPS and a high-resolution camera.
  • Photogrammetry software for processing images and generating 3D models.
  • Ground control points (GCPs) to enhance survey accuracy.
  • A computer capable of handling the processing software and large datasets.

3. How long does it take to complete a drone survey?

The time required for a drone survey depends on the site’s size and terrain complexity. Typically, a drone survey can be completed in a few hours, including flight time and initial data processing. Larger or more complex sites may take longer.

4. What are ground control points (GCPs) and why are they important?

Ground control points (GCPs) are physical markers placed on the ground at known coordinates. They improve the accuracy of the drone survey by providing reference points for the photogrammetry software, ensuring that the generated 3D models and measurements are correctly scaled and geo-referenced.

5. Can drones be used to measure stockpiles indoors?

Yes, drones can measure stockpiles indoors using specialized drones equipped with sensors that navigate in GPS-denied environments. While indoor measurements can be more challenging due to limited space and potential obstacles, accurate measurements can be achieved with the right equipment and expertise.

6. What types of materials can be measured using drones?

Drones can measure various materials, including aggregates like rock and gravel, coal, sand, soil, and more. As long as the stockpiles are accessible and visible to the drone’s camera, volumetric measurements can be accurately obtained.

7. How are the volumetric measurements calculated from drone data?

Volumetric measurements are calculated using photogrammetry software that processes the images captured by the drone. The software generates a 3D model of the site and calculates the volume of the stockpiles by analyzing differences in elevation and surface area.

8. What are the benefits of using drones for volumetric measurements compared to traditional methods?

The benefits of using drones for volumetric measurements include:

  • Increased safety by eliminating the need for personnel to climb stockpiles.
  • Faster data collection and processing times.
  • High accuracy and detailed 3D models.
  • Cost savings due to reduced labor and time requirements.
  • The ability to frequently update measurements for better inventory management.

9. Are there any regulatory requirements for using drones in volumetric measurements?

Yes, there are regulatory requirements for using drones, including:

  • Obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA for commercial drone operations.
  • Adhering to FAA Part 107 regulations, which cover operational limitations, airspace restrictions, and safety guidelines.
  • Ensuring the drone and pilot comply with local regulations and any additional permits required for specific areas.

10. How can Haller Concepts help with drone volumetric measurements?

At Haller Concepts, we provide comprehensive drone surveying services, including volumetric measurements. Our team of licensed and experienced pilots, equipped with the latest technology, ensures accurate data collection and processing. We prioritize safety and compliance with FAA regulations, offering customized solutions to meet your specific needs. Whether you need regular inventory updates, detailed site surveys, or custom media production, we have the expertise and equipment to deliver exceptional results.

Why Choose Haller Concepts

At Haller Concepts, we are a full-service professional commercial photography and video production company with extensive experience in drone surveying for stockpile inventory management. Our team of licensed drone pilots is equipped with the latest technology to provide accurate and reliable data acquisition. Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Expertise and Equipment: We have the right equipment and creative crew to handle all aspects of your project, from data acquisition to post-production.
  • Comprehensive Services: We offer full-service studio and location video and photography, as well as editing, post-production, and licensed drone pilots. Whether you need custom video productions, sound and camera operators, or specialized drone flights, we have you covered.
  • Customization: We can tailor our services to meet diverse media requirements, ensuring that your content is optimized for maximum impact.
  • Safety and Compliance: Our operations are FAA approved, and all our pilots are FAA 107 compliant. We prioritize safety and adhere to the highest standards in the industry.
  • Experience: We have worked with numerous businesses to gather data and measure stockpiles accurately, helping them make informed decisions and improve operational efficiency.

By leveraging our expertise and state-of-the-art technology, Haller Concepts can help you achieve accurate stockpile measurements and optimize your inventory management processes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your business needs with our comprehensive drone surveying services.

(314) 913-5626   Mike Haller

Haller Concepts | St. Louis, MO