The Most Unusual Piles

Measuring the volume of standard stockpiles is pretty straightforward. Our proprietary iPhone app, and the technology we’ve created for aerial measurements by drone or airplane give you extraordinarily accurate results in easy to read reports in no time at all. Sand, gravel, aggregate – these are all a piece of cake.

But we love a challenge! And our customers do not disappoint. We get excited when we get some unusual materials or configurations to handle, and we wanted to share some of them. Got a challenge for us? Email us at and we might feature you here!

Ring pile. True story…one customer had a pile near an electrical shack. It grew, slowly, until it totally encompassed the shack, which sat in the middle of a ring shape stockpile. Could we measure it? Of course.

Hopper piles. Think of a reverse volcano. The material in the stockpile is drawn out from underneath with conveyors. The material is added to the top, and pulled from the bottom, resulting in an inverted cone. We fly these piles and can calculate volume easily.

RAP. No, not the music. Recycled Asphalt Product. This is the material created when old highways are ground up. These piles are HUGE – so big, they often have roads on top of them. It becomes impossible to walk around them to accurately capture shape by iPhone. Here’s where drones and airplane photography comes in handy!

Cliff side piles. At some sites, material is added at the top of a steep hill or cliff, where it cascades to the bottom to be sold. We can do some measurements and model this type of pile, generating clear tonnage reports.

Parallel wall holding areas. Some piles are contained between two parallel walls, open at either end. Material is added at one end, and taken from the other. We take the wall dimensions, and come up with an accurate model, no problem.

Bunkers. We’ve seen every type of configuration. 1, 2 or 3 sides – we’ll get the wall dimensions and build a model. We’ve got this.

Indoor piles. For piles inside buildings, like “clinker” which cannot get wet or it will turn to cement, we have it covered. Drones are tricky inside, especially with GPS – but our iPhone app works great in or outside.

Have we met the pile that can’t be measured? Very rarely – one notable example being a pile that started on land and moved into a body of water. Even we can’t see underwater to see how deep it is. But other than that, if it’s a pile (and not a mixed up pile – it must have some distinct toe), we can measure it.

What are some of the fun materials we’ve measured?

  • Tires
  • Christmas trees
  • Manure
  • Scrap metal/car parts
  • Logs
  • Slash (underbrush from forest land)
  • Salt

So send us your challenge – and tell us what was the most difficult pile you’ve had to measure. We can even connect you with a team member so we can make it easier for you next time!

(geared up to measure piles inside a smelting plant)

If you have unusual piles (or just regular piles), and want to discuss measuring and managing your inventory, feel free to get in touch with us at:

+1 (425) 505-1713
or fill out this contact form