The Best Apps for Measured Surveys

The Best Apps for Measured Surveys

 

Introduction

 

[Post Updated April 2023]
This post is a response to many reader questions asking for advice on measured surveys – the gear, kit, tech, and even the best apps for measured surveys.

I don’t do so much surveying these days, but my method was always laser disto, tape measure, pen, and paper. I never used any phone apps or other more technical kit available. This is partly because when I was surveying the apps were quite new and I trust my laser more than I would trust a phone app, and in terms of more technical equipment, the size of my surveys did not require it.

So, we set about doing some research into the best options for people that want to use more than just a laser or tape measure to carry out a survey. There are a wide range of options available – from Leica who specialise in a range of equipment from high end total scanning equipment costing thousands, right down to great quality laser distos for the small-time surveyor like me!

We then have a range of apps that claim to be able to measure a room or create a floor plan from a photo or from your phone…. I was excited to explore these options. After coming across quite a few disappointing apps, we finally found the likes of RoomScan, Magic Plan. These apps seem to work well and are a step above their competitors. However, if you are working on a renovation project where the dimensions are crucial, I would be slightly concerned about accuracy (but that’s just me).

We would really love to hear your thoughts on this, so please, if you have any recommendations or suggestions – let us know in the comments and we can look at adding your ideas to the post.

It would be great if this could become a community generated post – taking expertise and advice from our readers – after all, I’m sure you all know more about this than us, so we would be very grateful for your thoughts.

 

THE BEST APPS FOR MEASURED SURVEYS

RoomScan Pro LiDAR by Locometric

https://www.locometric.com/lidar

RoomScan Pro LiDAR is an impressive phone app compatible with iPhone and iPad sensors, that allows you to create floor plans. You can use Augmented Reality (AR) to 3D scan the room and it will detect wall dimensions and openings.

Second, you can touch the phone against the walls and the app will detect the lengths of the walls and create the plan.

Finally, you can draw your plans and input the measurements yourself if you have a tape measure or laser disto.

Available on the App Store.

MeasureOn

https://www.bosch-professional.com/gb/en/measureon/

Great digital workspace that allows the error free transfer of measurements on site with just your phone and a laser disto. The MeasureOn app is compatible with a number of the Bosch laser measures.

You can draw plans, make notes, and include photos, sketches etc. all in one place.

All your data is backed up and synced through all of your devices for efficiency and easy access.

Available on both the App store and Google Play.

Magicplan

https://www.magicplan.app/mobile-sketching-solution

Magicplan lets you create a floor plan using AR to measure the space. You can edit your plan and add details to it within the app.

You can also draw your plans first and input the measurements yourself if you have a tape measure or a laser disto which will give you better accuracy.

Some compatible laser measures are listed on this page here: https://help.magicplan.app/laser-distance-meters

Find out more about pricing on their website.

OrthoGraph

https://www.orthograph.com/orthograph-enterprise/

Integrated mobile building survey system. Orthograph is a surveying tool that allows you to draw up plans in real time as you survey your building.

It integrates with laser disto to give accurate measurements and create a detailed survey in a short amount of time. The plan can be exported as a BIM model to the likes of ArchiCAD and Revit.

Orthograph is an advanced tool and works well.

Find out more about pricing on their website.

ARPLAN 3D

https://arplan3d.com/

ARPLAN 3D helps you easily scan a room with the help of innovative Augmented Reality (AR) technology that speeds up the measuring process.

You can use the virtual tape measure to calculate room dimensions and generate other values like the perimeter. These measurements can then be converted into 3D plan models.

The measurements you take can be stored and shared quite easily as well.

Available on both the App store and Google Play.

Canvas

https://canvas.io/

Canvas combines Apple’s LiDAR sensor with its own computer vision technology to allow you to capture spaces in 3D.

Once you have your 3D scan you can measure elements within it with accurate results.

You can also send your scans to be drafted and modelled with their Scan to CAD service.

Find out more about pricing on their website.

Room Survey

https://www.compusoftgroup.com/products/room-survey/

Room Survey helps you get fast and accurate measurements using your laser measure.

You can easily send your recorded floor plans to your computer.

This app is also integrated with apps like Winner Flex and Innoplus that can help you create realistic kitchen and bathroom renders.

Available on both the App store and Google Play.

Q-Mobile

https://www.landmark.co.uk/products/qmobile/

This is a mobile surveying app that allows you to take site notes and manually create site plans using their sketch tool.

You can use it to carry out single surveys, RICs surveys, Private and even Mortgage valuations.

Q-Mobile can integrate with existing workflows and provides an enhanced level of accuracy.

Find out more about pricing on their website.

Other Apps and Tools

APPS

Property Survey

This app provides templates for creating survey reports. It helps you save time as you can fill in the templates and send them to your clients while on site.

Available on the App Store.
https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/property-survey/id963901645

Property Survey

Pocket Laser Level

This app is a free laser levelling tool with three different modes – laser pointer, regular spirit level and clinometer. Great for measuring verticals, horizontals, and angles.

Available on both the App store and Google Play.
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pocket-laser-level/id1463757385

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.exatools.laserlevel&hl=en_US

Pocket Laser Level

TOOLS

Moasure

This tool uses motion to measure and draw at the same time. You can export CAD compatible files of your measurements and drawings.

https://moasure.co.uk/

 

Moasure

Spike by ike

This laser beam measurement device can be attached to your phone. All you have to do is snap a picture of the object and you can record its dimensions.

https://spike.ikegps.com/

 

Spike by ike

Gear for Measured Surveys

We go into more detail about the necessary tools and equipment and talk about our favourite laser distos in our Measured Survey post here:
Measured Survey 101 – How to measure a building with ease (firstinarchitecture.co.uk)

But some other specialist gear can include total stations, levels, GPS Equipment and even drones.

Leica are the leaders in all things survey and lasers!

Leica BLK3D
This is a fairly new piece from Leica and the video below shows it in action. Unfortunately, this has a heavy price tag, so it might not be for everyone.
https://leica-geosystems.com/en-gb/products/3d-imager/leica-blk3d

Leica 3D Disto
The 3D disto captures complex 3D measurements using lasers, achieving highly accurate information. This is an interesting piece of kit from them. It is not for your everyday survey, and has a hefty price tag, but worth a little look.
https://shop.leica-geosystems.com/learn/laser-distance-measuring/3d-disto

They also have their own Leica DISTO Plan App that goes with their products:
https://shop.leica-geosystems.com/measurement-tools/disto/leica-disto-plan-app

And a webpage on other compatible apps and software:
https://shop.leica-geosystems.com/measurement-tools/disto/leica-disto-apps

You might also be interested in

 

We also have lots of other survey related content. Be sure to check it out.

Measured survey - how to measure a building
Contextual Surveys - Where to Get Relevant Information FI

Conclusion

 

My feeling with some of the phone apps that claim to be able to measure accurately (not all of the above) is that you must remember – you are using a phone. It can only be so accurate. If you really need really precise measurements for your survey, I would ALWAYS use a laser or tape measure.

A thing to bear in mind when using these apps is that since your phone will be held in your hands there can be some inconsistencies as the phone will not be stable at all times. As demonstrated and explained by Professor Rami Tamimi, in this video, (iPhone with RTK vs Gimbal vs Total Station – YouTube) you may have to consider adopting a workflow that may involve including additional devices that work to stabilise your phone and produce accurate measurements.

Your Comments

 

So, let us know what you think. What do you use when carrying out your measured surveys? Do you have favourite apps for measured surveys? What lasers and kit do you take with you?

Let us know now in the comments!

As always, thank you for being here, and keep working smart 😉

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8 Comments

  1. I can’t get the videos to play?

    Reply
    • All fixed now!

      Reply
  2. Hi Emma,
    hope you are well.
    Interesting article on the apps for surveying.
    I am with you, I use a Disto D810 Touch, which does everything I need although it would be nice to have something draw it automatically, I’m just not too techno minded so I stick to the Disto and pen and paper.
    The beauty of the disto 810 is that it has so many more measuring functions than the more basic models.
    When mounted on its’ tripod it will measure building heights and lengths from a single point at a distance, it will give window widths, tree widths etc.
    As a more mobile unit – roof pitch calculations, Volume and area calcs, levels information e.g. gradients or standing at the top step you can measure the heights of every step without moving, measures up to 100m accurately
    In addition it has a camera which can take photos but what is really useful is being able to switch to camera mode to check exactly where your laser is pointing if measuring over a long distance or in bright light.

    Reply
    • Hi Clive, thank you for the tip on the disto – camera option sounds very useful for bright days as it can really be a challenge sometimes. The extra features sound excellent too. Thank you for your comments, much appreciated.

      Reply
  3. Id love an app that allows me to sketch like orthograph and then id use my laser disto and tape to measure.

    Basically i just want to replace my rubbish sketching with straight lines

    Reply
  4. Hi Emma

    Many thanks for useful articles as always.

    Would you be able to talk about 3d scan for measured survey.

    As you know, technology is moving fast. I start seeing 3d scanning tools and wonder if they are useful (accuracy, time saving and autogenerating floor plan) as advertised….

    It would be an interesting topic!

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Hi David, for sure, we are looking at updating this post at the moment and will look into 3D scanning too 🙂

      Reply
  5. Since most developers are loath to spend money on any project before they achieve planning permission, and hence ‘certainty’ J have found that the Apps such as RooPlan Pro LiDAR are as accurate as needed, with check dimensions from a hand held Disto, to get through planning. No existing building can ever measured with any accuracy with a tape or Disto. A full laser survey on the other hand is far too accurate since an existing building will rarely have straight, vertical walls at right-angles to each other. In fact a RoomPlan Pro LiDAR 3D model (plus check dims to rescale) is probably as accurate as needed. A new building designed using BIM, IFC files and monitored by robot ‘dogs’ is a completely different kettle of fish. A much higher level, to the nearest mm or less is now expected for new buildings, but still rarely achieved 🙂

    Reply

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