The secret to measuring material piles: the right tools

When a stockpile is worth millions, small measurement errors add up to huge misjudgements. Photogrammetry can help. 

Timber is the original renewable resource. New, efficient production processes use 100% of every tree, from lumber for building to wood pulp for paper or fuel.

Before, during and after processing, the wood waits in stockpiles. “We have a lot of logs sitting under our cranes. And that’s millions of dollars of inventory,” says Aaron Fisher, Technology Project Manager at Idaho Forest Group.

Knowing the precise volumes of the wood and byproducts helps the company estimate the value of their lumber and pulp stock. It also helps smooth the production process, as the team can estimate how much fuel is available to power their boilers and dry the lumber with steam.

Traditional methods of stockpile measurement involved walking the site with a measuring tape. By contrast, flying a drone over the entire site takes the team just 17 minutes.

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