Earthwork Glossary of Terms

3D tab

The 3D tab displays a three dimensional representation of a job site layer. This tab helps to ensure the elevations you digitize display an accurate representation of both the existing and proposed layers of the job site, as well as help both you and your customers see how the site will look upon completion.


A measurement you can digitize on a drawing for which you can calculate quantities or adjust the elevation of all points in the area to account for layers of material required for the area, such as bedding for a concrete slab.

Area tab

The Area tab enables you to digitize existing or proposed areas of a job.


To minimize the amount of material that you will need to export from or import to a job site by raising or lowering proposed elevations of the job site.


A sample taken from a job site that is broken down into different layers of materials. A boring is used to help you identify the different materials you will work with at a site, as well as estimate the amount of reusable or unusable materials found on the site.


A series of elevation points that all have the same elevation.


To dig out material from an area of an earthwork job site.


To enter elevations and quantities from a drawing using the digitizer. Also referred to as taking off quantities.


A tool used to enter information into a computer program using a stylus or puck. This tool is often used to enter quantities into a computer program from drawings that are laid flat on top of the digitizer.

Existing layer

The current features of a job site. The proposed layer contains the final features of the job site.


Material that is added to a job site.

Grid tab

The Grid tab enables you to view the cut and fill quantities for different grid sections of the job site. This tab also enables you to view a staking report that displays the elevations or cut and fill quantities at each grid intersection.


An earthwork job estimate created in the Earthwork module.


A representation of the site that contains information on the existing, proposed, or substrata features of the job site.

Layout tab

The Layout tab allows you to quickly create stakes and export that information.

Line style

The color and thickness of a line in the Earthwork module.


Any quantity digitized from a drawing in the Earthwork module.

Proposed layer

The layer of an job site that contains the final proposed features of the site.

Section tab

The Section tab allows you to view cross sections of an earthwork job to compare existing and proposed layer features. Also called the Cross Section tab.


A series of elevation points that have varying elevation values.


The row of buttons located under the menu bar that allows you to perform specific tasks for the currently selected tab. Each tab has a different set of buttons that appear when you change to that tab.

Spot elevations

An elevation point in the Earthwork module. A point can be a single spot elevation, or it can be part of a series of spot elevations that form a line.


An increment in the Section tab that displays the features of the proposed and existing layers of a cross section. You can choose to view stations that run vertically or horizontally on the screen.


The pen-like tool connected to the digitizer that allows you to digitize quantities off a drawing into a computer.

Substrata layer

The layers of the site that are created when you digitize soil borings and define the layers of material for that soil boring. Note that there is a separate substrata layer for each material you define in a soil boring.

Summary tab

The Summary tab displays the quantities for the earthwork job based on the dimensions you digitized, and allows you to apply swell/yield factors to these quantities. It also displays cut and fill totals for a job site, amount of material you will need to import and export from the job site, change in grade, and volumes of materials selected for areas.

Swell percentage

The percentage that a material swells when you remove it from an area on the site.

Takeoff tab

The Takeoff tab in the Earthwork module is where you digitize the elevations of a job using a digitizer. In the Takeoff tab you can digitize lines, spot elevations, and soil borings.

Topsoil replaced

Topsoil that is replaced to fill an area. Usually, the replaced topsoil will be used to grow vegetation or for landscaping. Note that when you replace topsoil, you are lowering all the proposed grades. In the Earthwork module, topsoil replacement occurs in the proposed layer of the Area tab.

Topsoil stripping

Topsoil is stripped at the beginning of a job to clear out all the unusable materials in a job site. Note that when you strip topsoil, you are lowering all the existing grades. In the Earthwork module, you can strip topsoil in the existing layer of the Area tab.


To drag the stylus over the lines on a drawing using one of the trace tools to digitize quantities that are made up of straight lines, curved lines, or a combination of straight and curved lines.

Yield percentage

The percentage that a material is compacted when you place it on the site.