The Best Apps for Measured Surveys

Introduction to Gear and Apps for Measured Surveys

This post is a response to many reader questions asking for advice on measured survey gear, kit, tech…

 

I don’t do so much surveying these days, but my method was always laser disto, tape measure and pen and paper. I never used any phone apps or other more technical kit available. This is partly because 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, I set about doing some research into the best options for people that want 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, I 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). 

 

I would really love to hear your thoughts on this, so please, if you have any recommendations or suggestions – let me know in the comments and I 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 my readers – after all, I’m sure you all know more about this than me, so I would be very grateful for your thoughts. 

Gear for Measured Surveys

 

So, to get started.

 
 

Leica BLK3D

Leica are the leaders in all things survey and lasers!

This is a fairly new piece from Leica and 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 laser 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

I talk about my favourite laser distos in my measured survey post here:

Apps for Measured Surveys

 

Orthograph

 
Integrated mobile building survey system. Orthograph is 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.

RoomScan Pro by Locometric

https://www.locometric.com/roomscan

 

RoomScan Pro is an impressive phone app that allows you to create floor plans in three different ways. First, you can use AR to 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.

RoomScan LiDAR by Locometric

https://www.locometric.com/lidar

Locometric have also created an updated app built for the iPad Pro that works in a similar way to Roomscan.

MagicPlan

 
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 export your plan as a PDF, JPEG, PNG, but crucially, a DXF.

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

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. Right now I don’t 100% trust the use of an iPhone to measure a building as accurately as required. 

 

I also feel that there is a bit jump from using more basic equipment to very technical gear, with not much in between for people that just want to up their game a little and make their process quicker, without having to take out a bank loan to do so. 

 

For me, although I would experiment with the apps, I would probably stick with my trusty disto laser and notepad and pen for now!

 

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Your comments…

 

So, let me 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 me know now in the comments!

 

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

My favourite Tools and Resources

I have curated a list of some of the tools and resources I would strongly recommend for anyone studying or working in Architecture.