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I have a LiDAR suface model from 2006 and a LiDAR surface model from 2013. These two surfaces have about a 0.4 foot (0.12m) difference between the Z values on an adjacent road (2013 is 0.4 feet higher). I have a nearby agricultural field that has had soil removed from a 92,000 sq foot (0.86 hectares) area.

Using a drone, Metashape, and a Trimble 7X (to generate ground control) I was able to create a new surface of the excavated area. My drone surface is about 0.2 ft higher than the 2013 LiDAR surface for those areas not excavated.

Using ArcGIS 10.7 and the Cut and Fill tool in Spatial Analyst I was able to determine that about 9,658 cubic yards (~7,400 cubic meters) were removed. I have not altered or adjusted the surfaces to try to make one fit the other.

I understand that there are uncertainties in any spatial dataset including LiDAR and I am well versed in Structure from Motion reconstructions so I am positive that my drone surface is a good as it gets.

Given the differences and uncertainties between the two LiDAR datasets and the drone surface, how do I estimate the error in my 9,658 cubic yards total?

  • What 2 surfaces gave you 9648 volume? – FelixIP Aug 23 '19 at 19:35
  • The 2013 LiDAR surface minus the drone surface returned 9,658. – GBG Aug 23 '19 at 20:08

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