Limestone Quarry Stockpile Measurements



A construction subcontracting company that specializes in precast concrete asked us to help them understand how they could use drones today to increase profit and reduce cost in their business. We began by exploring the supply-side of their business: the quarry that supplies the limestone for their largest-ever construction project. Drones can be used to gather detailed real-world data about the volume of stockpiles at an open pit mine.



The Mine

The below mine in Hollister, CA extracts, crushes, and stores several types of sand and gravel.  We used off-the-shelf drone hardware to autonomously take aerial photographs of the quarry, which was then processed to create an accurate 3D model of the entire 60-acre site.  This 3D model can be used to calculate the exact volume of any stockpile on the site, whether its shape is conical or irregular.  All data was collected in less than 30 minutes of flight time, and can be done safely by a single operator. Aerial data and subsequent analysis can be easily shared by a mine owner with stakeholders, allowing clients to keep close track of the stockpiles of their contracted materials.

Use a UAV to automatically calculate aggregate stockpile volumes quickly and easily



Stockpile Volume (Cubic Feet) Material* Density* (lbs PCF) Weight (Tons)
1 17,574 3/8" limestone 104 9,138
2 111,670 3/8" limestone 104 58,068
3 4,308 3/8" limestone 104 2,240
4 18,202 3/8" limestone 104 9,465
5 85,001 loose sand 90 38,250
6 16,384 loose sand 90 7,373
7 2,687 loose sand 90 1,209
8 14,663 loose sand 90 6,598
*Material densities are for example calculation purposes

Additional benefits

Aerial scanning and 3D modeling provides more than just volumetric measurements.

Mine Feature Monitoring

Mines are areas of high risk, with organizations like the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) encouraging owners to be diligent. Mine owners can use drones to monitor features of their mine to ensure safety. Drones can fly close-up to shear faces and detect cracks. Aerial data can be used to evaluate slope wall and bench face angles, and measure crest overhangs.

Asset Tracking

The data collected in regular drone flights can allow a mine owner to keep track of their large, expensive trucks, excavators, and other assets, in order to ensure accountability.

Long Term Recording

By regularly flying drones over a quarry, a mine owner organically builds a historical record of the mine over time. This is invaluable for tracking pit growth progress and planning future growth, as well as for providing preemptive evidence in the event of potential future liability issues.



Traditional surveying would have to be scheduled in advance, and would require a full day, during which only one stockpile could be measured at a time.

Drone data collection, however, could be done on-demand, measuring all stockpiles simultaneously, with a total of one to two hours of operations.



For a mining business looking to create new value with drones, designing the right Drone Program is crucial. Learn Aerotas' five-step process for creating an effective drone program.




We equip businesses with the right technology and procedures to immediately start using drones in their operations. We focus on the drones so that you can focus on what you do best: delivering value to your customers.


Contact us to learn more about drones for quarries and mining: