Elevation - Visible Range


The request is to limit the view of the DD Map based on a type in/slidebar elevation numbers (Min/Max).

Scenario: Let’s say I flew a mission over natural ground (Elevation 83.0) and a detention basin (Floor Elevation 69.0), off to the side of the basin on natural ground let’s say there is a stockpile of dirt (Stockpile Elevation 95.0).

Request: Since we create a 3D map of the mission, I would like to to only show Min 69.0 and Max 83.0, this way anything below Min or above Max would be turned off. Or do a Min 83.0 and Max 95.0, this would only show the Top of Bank and natural ground to the top of Stockpile.

Basically we already have this feature but you are using it via color grading. The issue is when I create a volumetric around the Top of Bank I don’t have a sharp edge to determine where my Top of Bank is currently at vs a Plan Sheet Overlay (when that option works) showing where the Top of Bank is supposed to be located at.

This will also help with stockpile volumetrics by adjusting the Min number to a elevation that the natural ground disappears, that would save tons of time. Currently I manually adjust points around the object till I get either a 0cy Cut or Fill (depending if basin or stockpile). So quickly typing in a 83.0 or 83.1 for a Min would hide everything below then I can easily see the actual shap of the pile or basin.

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Of the 2D map? Kind of like vertical sectioning? I’m not sure how they could do that with an image. I use the elevation overlay at 30-40% opacity to clearly define the grade breaks in conjunction with the ortho. You can also adjust those sliders to create a more dense color palette so that the grade breaks are easier to see. If you really want to nail it down you can draw a distance measurement and use the cross-section.

Maybe a happier note is that 3D workflow is coming.


That’s the current method I use.

Top of Banks during construction are not always at the correct locations/elevations.

In our deep retention basins we put a safety shelf and it’s as well. So being able to check elevations would be nice. It’s a Value Add to the DD Product, lol.

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I like it! Ponds slopes and banks never get finished before the liner, clay or other moisture barrier is finished. If there aren’t any of those assemblies then they wait for grid and/or topsoil.

Most of the time I am dealing with things of this nature I am doing it with the point cloud in Carlson Precision 3D, but it would be nice to have at least a simple version of that.

Just a clarification from earlier, it is sounding like we are going to get some cut/fill functionality by bringing in a surface from CAD before we go full 3D. I just hope we have the capability to offset those surfaces otherwise we will have to go old school and start building subgrade surfaces again.

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I flew a site this morning and Elevations are from 79.0 to 86.0 for the general site and a Stockpile around 96 or so and a Pond around 69.0 (not messing with the pile right now). I setup the RTK unit for some testing today (worked out great, even though it’s DJI GS RTK software).

Once DD finished the map my Elevation range is 67.98 to 151.82. This tells me there is a low spot in the pond, below grade (yeah we are reworking the pond) and there are trees along the North boundary. The issue with the slider is the range I need between 83.4 and 85.5 are on top of each other and it’s hard to dial in the range I want to look at.


This is an example of needing to type in Min Max numbers, in this photo you can see a pond on the right side, this Top of Bank is fairly easy since they have been working on it the past few days. You can see the Red/Yellow along the pond towards the road is still missing a little fill, the backlots are 84.1 and is grading to 82.4 at the street all the way along the pond. This is why I like the visible range as a quick check.

Tomorrow, I’m going to fly the whole site and check the south side of the project. between the two roads on the south (street and curved roads) you start to see some blues showing up when in reality it should be getting red. I can use this to show the engineers/contractor/owners the overall site before my paving crew moves in on Monday.

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Nice share. Is this usft MSL? Or is it WGS84 ellipsoid converted to feet?

How does it compare to the design? Or are you just design-build?

If you drag the slider all the way to the left then you can set the right slider on the elevation you want and it will be right where it goes red. The scale actually always goes past min/max values, but I don’t know what their buffer is. You can also drag past the slider though so don’t get them confused, :). Accentuating the area of interest. Normal Scale vs Modified. The problem I have that this would solve is that you can’t hit the number". I need 843.50’ as it is the top of the pond, but it will only let me hit 843.28’ and 843.92’. It’s got to be particularly tough down there where it is so flat…

Again with the ranges set to the plan top and toe so the whole palette is in the pond. You can nail it down to almost zero, but it depends on what steps they give you and it is not consistent.

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This was usft MSL, I setup my D-RTK basestation on a TBM. I’m waiting on NTRIP account.

Yeah that’s why I want to type it in, so I can enter exactly what I want. As for the sliders my issue in the example above is a 84’ between Min and Max, and the area I want to work with is between 1’ and 3’. If I could set the range from 67 to 97 (to clip the trees), this would give me a 30’ scale at 100% range. This would allow a separation between the sliders.

Even better would be a User Defined Clipping Range = Min/Max and a User View Range = Min/Max

Example: My scale above is 67 to 151 = 84’

User Defined Clipping Range: Let me set Min to 80.0 and Max to 90, for example. This would give my slider a Range from 80 to 90, Default: Full Range as it currently is setup.

User View Range: Lets me set the Min/Max Elevation range I want to set. This could be used in the Color Elevation to allow greater color difference.

Both of these could be used in my original request as well.


Here is a 9 AC that is being worked on. The Top of Bank is close to Plan Elevation but it’s not 100% defined in location due to recent activity. The Safety Shelf was destroyed so the contractor could bench down and do well pointing. The Floor is in the process of being over-excavated to obtain more material for site fill.


Before the contractor started, the pond had about 81k cy removed and roughly it’s now about 100k cy. Depending where I set the volumetric line it can adjust the cy. Since the Top of Bank isn’t fully restored it’s hard to determine where to actually place the volumetric line. I tried to do a Plan Sheet Overlay but DD currently has a issue with that feature. In the past I could overlay a Plan Sheet but it brought in the white background and it didn’t let me set the opacity. Now it’s just broke, it bring in a small box with a portion of the Plan Sheet with a white background. It should bring in the sheet and remove the White Background so it leaves the black writing/lines on the sheet, like it does during the alignment phase of the Plan Sheet Import. Then once I have a opacity Plan Sheet, I should be able to draw a volumetric on top of the Plan Sheet along the contour lines. This would allow the proper placement of the volumetric line so we could get proper a measurement.


@Anya @AlexHennessey Just wanted to make you aware of this conversation. Just to clarify, the first request is having the ability to set a specific value for the sliders on the elevation histogram. Next is the comparison between flights, but also between a flight and a design surface. I think it ties in nicely with some of the things we been talking about.

@GregO Have you tried saving the PDF as a PNG file? I have had a pretty good amount of trouble with PDFs. They align just fine, but once they resolved to full resolution the background turns white again. This is an inconsistent condition though. PNG’s seem to continue to work fine, but they are not near the quality.

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Yes, I’ve saved maps out at as PDF and PNG, I get good resolutions with them (Sunny/Cloudy and Time of Day greatly affects results). Now I haven’t tried with a Plan Sheet Overlay due to it not working properly.

These next few photos are going to be poor resolution since I’m zooming in from another photo that was zoomed in. but it shows my results of Plan Sheet Overlay>

Import Progress - Looks to be what I would expect

After Import - What the End Result looks Like back in Oct '18

Current After Import - This is my overlay from Mar '19

In Bluebeam
From PDF - 11% Zoom

From PDF - 50% Zoom

From PDF - 100% Zoom

From PDF - 200% Zoom

From PDF - 240% Zoom

It does start to get pixelated when zoomed way in, but it’s still usable for measurements. This site was flown on a overcast day with poor sun, yes I was bored watching the contractor so what’s a better reason to fly. Sunnier days give better overall better results. Time of day is a major factor as well, If I want the highest quality results I will fly a on no cloud day around 12 PM. Unfortunately I have to fly in less than optimum conditions. Most of my flights are between 80’ to 150’, the lower the better just more flights. Anything above 200’ you don’t have good resolution to begin with. At 250’ I can zoom in and barely make out a stick the size of my forearm, at 80’ I zoom in and see smaller than a golf ball or smaller.

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Hi @GregO and @MichaelL - we should have gotten you two together in Texas last week :wink: great conversation going on here.

@Anya is very interested in both of your inputs for the comparison between maps and between a map and a design surface. Good things to come on that front - we’ll be reaching out when closer to. Greg and I also spoke about manually putting in elevations for the histogram, and limiting the view of the map based on elevation. I love this idea, and have logged it for the team.

We have been running into some issues with overlays this past week - we have a fix in, and will be out with the next release. The BB example is helpful - thanks Greg. Love the conversations - tag me if anything else pops up!


In my opinion, Bluebeam is the only way to do overlays correctly until DroneDeploy figures out the background issue and goes to a 3-point alignment. PNG’s are horrible and a 2-point alignment is not near accurate enough. It ok for printing big maps, but not for what my team does.

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I agree 2 points are not enough. In the photo I attached I used 2 manholes but in reality those manholes could be in the wrong place (most the times they are), it’s construction and I could only wished they built things with less than an inch tolerance.

Having more check points allows us to get it as close as we can without having gps monuments on-site, which if it’s a long term project it’s easy to setup (static GPCs). In that case it would be nice to enter the coords for those tie points like we do for GPCs.


I’m ready for a Texas meet-up with DD. Call it the DD Texas Conference.


I usually pick what are my two best points, look across the site and then pick one on the worst spot and prorate.

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I’m in. We need another road show. Hope you don’t mind coming to Austin… :wink:

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I’m ready! I need another DD HQ trip as well.