Civil Tracker is leading the industry with its innovative 3rd Generation earthworks tracking technology for drone users. Want to understand the pros and cons of each generation of tools? Keep Reading…

1st Generation (Stockpiles)

The first generation of earthworks volume measurement technology uses the surface from a single drone flight. The tools calculate the volume between a plane and the surface of the stockpile.

1st Generation Stockpile Calculation Technology

Pros: This method works really well for stockpiles.  Because of the inherent simplicity it’s easy to use.  

Cons: Does not work for detecting change or measuring progress.  

If this doesn’t meet your business needs, perhaps Gen 2 tech will!

2nd Generation (Cut and Fill)

With few exceptions most of the industry has adopted 2nd Generation technology.  This allows for the comparison of two surfaces (ie drone flights on separate days) and the volume calculated between them.

2nd Generation Cut and Fill Calculation Technology

Pros: Level 2 users have the capability to track change and calculate cuts and fills.  

Cons:  Data management becomes a problem when project move beyond a vs. b or b vs. c calculations.  After several datasets, creating and recording many individual measurements becomes tedious and prone to error.  

If you have more than one material or two flights in your project, read on and learn how 3rd Generation technology improves productivity.  

3rd Generation (Lifecycle Tracking)

CivilTracker is introducing a new level of earthworks quantity tracking with its industry leading 3rd Generation technology.  Compare unlimited time series surfaces simultaneously, and record measurements in a secure ledger for automated reporting.

3rd Generation Lifecyle Tracking Technology

Pros: Exclude irrelevant change from calculations. For example, temporary windrows, snow piles, snowfall, and vegetation can all be ignored.  Report on progress for any combination of dates and material types. Total audit-ability eliminates uncertainty.


Each generation of volume calculation technology has its place and works well for certain cases. For stockpiles, any of the three solutions will work. For simple construction such as a foundation excavation, both 2nd and 3rd Gen tech will work for you. If you’re working with dynamic earthworks construction sites, multiple materials, and construction longer than a couple weeks, consider leveling up with 3rd Generation technology to ensure accurate, transparent and efficient quantity tracking and progress monitoring.