Balancing dirt removal and backfill

I’ve really only used SketchUp to design small woodworking project so far and I am now attempting something completely different and struggling quite a bit so here I am :slight_smile:

I have a land survey from which I made a topographic map using the Points Cloud extension.
And I also have a “desired” final grade with different slopes and profile.

I am trying to figure out at which elevation I should set my desired land profile so that I can balance out the soil I need to remove and where I need to fill.
Here is an image of what my model looks like :

So right now I’m trying to find a way to calculates volumes between my 2 topographic maps and it is not exactly going smoothly! I figured I should try to find something like the drape tool that would work on my model (and not only the sandbox object) to project 1 map onto the other and intersect those.
If someone could point me in the right direction, that would help a lot!

Could help.
The trial version has 10 ‘free’ goes… a paid version is only ~$20…
However, before you jump in you need to tweak your existing and proposed groups, name them appropriately and ensure they have matching ‘skirts’ [separate tool to do this], so that the volume differences can be clearly determined.
There is fuller guidance with the tool’s entry and several useful posts on usage in the associated thread…

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I went ahead and created my “matching skirts” manually before getting mixed up with too many extensions and it worked like a charm!
Thanks a lot TIG, got exactly what I was looking for.
Don’t know if I’ll ever use it again, but I’ll probably buy the paid version anyway as a thank you.

Have a great day.

If only every problem was so easy to solve !!
Good luck in your endeavors… :grin:


Don’t mean to put a spanner in the works but do remember that “cut” and “fill” are not equivalent. Not initially, anyway. When you dig out soil, you “fluff it up” in the process. In short, you appear to pull out more than you really have because, when it was in the ground, it was compacted. It won’t revert to that state for some years (or not without careful re-compaction in layers).

But maybe you have factored this in.

A sheepsfoot roller is used in the UK to re-compact cut material used as fill.
It’s not perfect but is obviously better than throwing loose excavated soil back into a hole that is not compacted at all !

You must mean one of these:


I live in the UK and have never seen one. But I’m sure they exist for large scale landscaping. I wonder if the OP falls into that category!

Mostly, I just see easily manoeuvred vibrating plate compactors and spoil placed and compacted in thinnish layers.

Around here, loose soil can take up a factor of 2~2,5 of the ‘unstirred’.
But, peat soil also settles about 1,5 cm each year. That process is speeded up by agriculture activities, that’s why most farmers switched to holding cattle in the middle ages.

Most parts here are below sealevel, already!