Adams County Landfill UAS 3D Surface Models

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Ayres has conducted multiple unmanned aerial systems (UAS) missions at the Adams County Landfill since 2015 to provide detailed topographic mapping information about the active site and surrounding terrain. Ayres has served as the County’s engineer of record for the past 18 years, providing a full suite of solid waste engineering services, including operations assistance, waste volume studies, design, bidding, construction oversight, and documentation.

Ayres employed drone technology in 2015 and again in 2016 to create 3D surface models to support volumetric calculations and change detection analysis throughout the active landfill site. The topographic mapping derived from these missions provides a much higher definition surface model than what is generated from conventional survey, thereby permitting detailed analysis of the terrain at the micro-level. A separate UAS mission conducted at a nearby borrow pit also provided engineers with a 3D model to calculate the volume of material removed from the site and the amount of fill needed to return the area to the original grade.

High resolution aerial imagery, up to 1.5-inch pixel resolution, was captured and geo-referenced for all sites to provide visual reference of the site and facilities. Importantly, the use of a drone for this application also limits the exposure of survey staff to potentially hazardous and unsanitary conditions.

On behalf of the County, Ayres is completing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources permitting process for expansion of the landfill. The largest effort within the permitting process is the feasibility report, which includes planning, fieldwork, and report preparation to meet the requirements of NR512. Extensive fieldwork includes drilling, soils analysis, and groundwater analysis to verify subsurface conditions. Completion of the feasibility report and plan of operations (the next and last phase in the permitting process) will provide an additional 15 years of filling capacity for Adams County.

Project Information

Client's Name

Adams County Solid Waste Department


Friendship, WI

Primary Service



Local Government