I have recently been given a task from my professor to calculate Grading/land levelling volume of an airport using ArcGIS (cut/fill volume of the land). However, this is the first time for me to approach this programme so there are a few problems. Also, I have looked around on the Internet to seek for the answers but they did not seem to be applicable in my case.

This is a brief introduction of my case:

  • I have been given an image containing contours (Nothing more than contour and it is an image, TIF file in specific).
  • What I need to do is to calculate the volume of lands that need to be cut or filled in order to create a flat surface for an airport.

And then my approach:

  • Georeferencing: I used another programme to give the image some coordinates and made it be able to be opened in ArcGIS.
  • Digitising: I created a shapefile, digitised the map by sketching following the contours, created raster and TIN.
  • Calculating: There are two ways that I found on the Internet: Using Cut/Fill or Surface volume.


  • ArcGIS provides a tool to calculate the difference between a surface and a polygon. However, the flat surface that I need to level to has inclination, which means the elevation in the polygon changes in different points. The same problem happens when using Surface volume to calculate the volume Above/Below an elevation.

My questions are:

  • Is it possible to do the grading/levelling that I described above?
  • Am I going in the right way in calculating the volume?
  • If yes, please show me what I have to do or what I have done wrongly so I can learn from my mistake.
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  • As per the Tour there should be only one question asked per question. – PolyGeo Jan 11 '17 at 20:07

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