Experience and opinions of using Canvas for as-builts?


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Anyone here use Canvas scanning for your as-built surveys, and if so, what's your opinions?

 

I've been doing sketches with pen and paper using a measuring tape and laser, and then HOVER for the exterior. Occasionally I'll run into an old house that I struggle for a bit to piece my measurements together, even when I have a ton of videos/photos to help me. I'm very interested in changing my workflow to leverage Canvas to scan interiors of my as-builts, BUT I don't own any Apple products right now. I'd have to drop about a grand or so on an iPhone 12 pro and replace my android phone. I have had apple phones years ago and liked them, but don't like how expensive they are!

 

My vision is to get in and out much faster than I do now, and back to my office where I prefer to work. Also, if anyone has experience using Magicplan let me know. The one thing I'm not thrilled about with Canvas is having a new as-built plan NOT in my template, leaving me having to copy/paste everything into my template and clean things up. I guess if I had a simple drawing file I could model the house myself in my template.

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33 minutes ago, solver said:

 

Did you search the forum?

Yes, of course. But all I found was the posts from the Canvas sales reps and I don't think anyone had any real experience using it with their export to Chief Architect option. It has 3.2 out of 5 stars on the Apple store, but I can't tell what is with Chief Architect. So I figured this is the best place to gather opinions.

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11 minutes ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

Yes, of course. But all I found was the posts from the Canvas sales reps and I don't think anyone had any real experience using it with their export to Chief Architect option. It has 3.2 out of 5 stars on the Apple store, but I can't tell what is with Chief Architect. So I figured this is the best place to gather opinions.

I have used it and will use it again when I don't have access to my intel LiDar rig. I take a Scan-Tech with me to perform the scanning while I take control measurements of the room as well as street measurements.
The scan to CAD service is useless. Hack-job drafter, get what you pay for. I've spent more time fixing Scan-to-CAD sets than I would've drafting it myself from the start. Accuracy is a problem with considering. With my L515, accuracy isn't an issue, but it takes longer in the field.(this will change over time)
The rep Ben has an active search for all things that mention Canvas, no doubt he will see this response. I understand that market value of the Scan-to-CAD service, and would suggest the service not try and recreate unique architectural features as more often than not the drafter being used is using sub-standard work-arounds. i.e. using p-solids for stair landings and moldings and not snapping edge to edge or point to point.

 

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1 hour ago, Renerabbitt said:

The scan to CAD service is useless. Hack-job drafter, get what you pay for. I've spent more time fixing Scan-to-CAD sets than I would've drafting it myself from the start.

 

That right there is a major turn off for me. My template and modeling is very precise (as precise as is practical), so I would get very frustrated fixing crappy modeling.

 

If the export to Chief is not great, I may be okay with 2D linework if it showed the correct thicknesses for walls, or some kind of 3D model that I can measure everything as I model the as-built in Chief. I've used point clouds in Revit before, but those scanners are thousands of dollars. Do you have any experience using matterport files to model your as-builts? I wonder if hiring or renting one of those things is worth the time savings.

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6 minutes ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

That right there is a major turn off for me. My template and modeling is very precise (as precise as is practical), so I would get very frustrated fixing crappy modeling.

 

If the export to Chief is not great, I may be okay with 2D linework if it showed the correct thicknesses for walls, or some kind of 3D model that I can measure everything as I model the as-built in Chief. I've used point clouds in Revit before, but those scanners are thousands of dollars. Do you have any experience using matterport files to model your as-builts? I wonder if hiring or renting one of those things is worth the time savings.

I personally prefer the L515 and Dot3d software to matterport.
You can still use canvas and measure from the scan. Important to note that when scanning you want line of sight on the faces of all parallel planes. This makes dimension a breeze in canvas as it has an automated parallel plane measurement tool. Everything else is point-to-point and a bit sloppy. Considering I put in standard window sizes in my AB files, this isn't a bother to me. I take extra time getting accurate control measurements in the location of work to be performed.

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I just order the Ipad pro to test it out. then a few days a new client sent me file someone canvased it was bad,  really bad. The I pad is arrving soon will give it a shot but the results of the that file are not promising. 

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19 hours ago, divreig said:

I just order the Ipad pro to test it out. then a few days a new client sent me file someone canvased it was bad,  really bad. The I pad is arrving soon will give it a shot but the results of the that file are not promising. 

Let us know how it goes for you. It may be best for me to wait to buy an iPhone 12 when the 13 is released so I can save money.

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Ben from Canvas will be along shortly to say it is perfect and challenge the ones that do not agree...

 

I am sure others may disagree, but with my previous personal experience (caveat I have not tried again in the last 6-9 months) the scan to cad was not good, and if you look on the specifications the percentage of variation allowed is too much for most remodel jobs.  Honestly I have not found any that are perfect but if you have the budget to allow for an eagle eye scan, a matterport Scan of interior, and a Hover.to scan of the exterior you have lots of references you can pull from and be pretty close.  That coupled with some key physical measurement checks and it will handle most cases.

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I'm doing a trial of MagicPlan and so far it's really nice for my house. It is like a simpler version of the retired Chief Architect Room Planner app that works with your Bluetooth laser. It works with android, so no reason for me to spend $1,300 on an overpriced apple cell phone!

 

I bought a Bluetooth laser a couple years ago and tried out the Room Planner app on a house survey. Sorry, Chief Architect, but that app was terrible and very slow to use. I'm going to try out Magicplan this week, so I'll let everyone here know how it goes for me.

 

Importing 2D plans to trace over in Chief Architect seems like an easy and safe way to get as-built measurements. My goal with surveying is to get in and out as quickly as possible, but not miss any important info. I don't understand how anyone could use your precious laptop on site in an old damp, cold, dirty and cluttered home to gather measurements and model as-builts in Chief Architect. Although, I guess if most of your as-built surveys are in houses in fairly decent conditions then it doesn't matter to you.

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Chief has a lot of videos on their site, one of which features doing an asbuilt on site by a long time user, who makes his living only doing asbuilts.  The tool is a laptop, the software is Chief.  He certainly must deal with dirty and musty and damp conditions.  Sure looks like the absolutely most efficient way.  Watch it and tell us what you think.

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Just now, GeneDavis said:

the software is Chief.  

What do you mean by this? I'm only using Magicplan (if it works for me on my next survey project) to get 2D plans that import into Chief Architect and do my as-built modeling and drawings. Hopefully this would replace my pen and paper, or most of it during my surveys. 

 

When did I ever imply I wasn't going to use Chief Architect for as-builts?

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55 minutes ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

I don't understand how anyone could use your precious laptop on site in an old damp, cold, dirty and cluttered home to gather measurements and model as-builts in Chief Architect.

 

I think Gene is referencing this statement above............. and referring to these......

 

https://www.chiefarchitect.com/videos/watch/131/as-built-basement-project.html

 

https://www.chiefarchitect.com/videos/watch/10212/as-built-measurements-best-practices.html

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1 hour ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

 

Importing 2D plans to trace over in Chief Architect seems like an easy and safe way to get as-built measurements. My goal with surveying is to get in and out as quickly as possible, but not miss any important info.

 

I have the same goal. I briefly looked at magic plan, but did not want to pay monthly fees, so I went with the bosch Bluetooth laser and measure on gen 1 app(free), (but I did by a $300 android) to create the 2d. It takes me about an 1hr to hour and a half by the time I take all of the wall and "important" (furnace, posts, elect) measurements and pictures. But I also use the time to to discuss options with the customers about half the time. so I'm there anywhere from 45min on the low end to 2 hours

 

I'm curious to see your opinion of magicplan, and if you have used the bosch app, your opinion on the differences

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1 hour ago, Kbird1 said:

 

I think Gene is referencing this statement above............. 

 

Ah, I see. Sorry about that Gene.

 

I like the idea of leveraging technology to make our lives easier, but I've just been in too many old crappy homes that I would never want my delicate work laptop to be in to risk getting damaged. Most of the homes I survey aren't occupied, and are often full of clutter or very dirty. Holes in exterior walls, steep stairs, no electricity, freezing cold in winter, ect. I'm sure I can't be the only one not wanting to bring our work laptops on site.

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Sounds like you are doing section 8.  Mine are civilized, but I take a pair of folding horses and a top so I can stand and work at the 42" height.  Can't count on working space otherwise.  A package of wipes to keep hands clean, but no problems otherwise.  I see subcontractors taking laptops into working jobsites all the time, and those are far more dirty than the typical house getting measured and studied.

 

Now if it is an unheated place and it's minus five out, that's another story.  But a very rare other story.

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11 minutes ago, GeneDavis said:

Sounds like you are doing section 8.

I don't know if it's quite section 8, but some of them have been nasty. I've surveyed home very high end homes, moderate homes, and poor condition homes, but I've had more poor condition homes lately.

 

Everybody does things differently, but I'm definitely open to learning from others and maybe I'll see a reason to change how I do my surveys. At least using HOVER for the exterior has greatly saved me time on site. I highly recommend that to anyone that does surveys.

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4 hours ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

At least using HOVER for the exterior has greatly saved me time on site. I highly recommend that to anyone that does surveys.

I just took a look at the hover output. What details are you using from hover?

 

Today I laser the interior and build the exterior from survey, but the survey is not always available. But in looking at hover it looks like it may be missing key details such as:

distance from grade to top of subfloor, distance from top of subfloor to ridge

 

or at least some way to get grade to peak

 

do you take the hover foot print and create a foundation in CA, and then build floors on top and then build out cantilevers based on hover's output?

 

Today I measure windows and doors incl location from end wall, measure grade to floor top (or bottom), grade to soffit (as a double check) and pitch (via bosch by laying on a gable), or guess based on roof planes (its easier than one might think). Then I build the foundation in CA, build fisrt story, add in windows and doors in CA,, auto build roof, then adjust roof

For uneven lots, I measure grade at multiple locations

 

But if hover could give me the window distances from corners (or maybe I could just import the pdf, scale, that is probably good enough). 

 

The other problem I have is sides of houses. here they are most of the time less than 4' to PL, sometime 2', which means the picture is taken at the corner for maximum wide angleness.

 

Have you come across this issue, and does hover still work?

 

Thanks. It looks like $50 per for the simple 4 segment roof. That would be within my budget if it provided all of the above

 

 

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8 hours ago, jasonN said:

I just took a look at the hover output. What details are you using from hover?

 

Today I laser the interior and build the exterior from survey, but the survey is not always available. But in looking at hover it looks like it may be missing key details such as:

distance from grade to top of subfloor, distance from top of subfloor to ridge

 

or at least some way to get grade to peak

 

do you take the hover foot print and create a foundation in CA, and then build floors on top and then build out cantilevers based on hover's output?

 

Today I measure windows and doors incl location from end wall, measure grade to floor top (or bottom), grade to soffit (as a double check) and pitch (via bosch by laying on a gable), or guess based on roof planes (its easier than one might think). Then I build the foundation in CA, build fisrt story, add in windows and doors in CA,, auto build roof, then adjust roof

For uneven lots, I measure grade at multiple locations

 

But if hover could give me the window distances from corners (or maybe I could just import the pdf, scale, that is probably good enough). 

 

The other problem I have is sides of houses. here they are most of the time less than 4' to PL, sometime 2', which means the picture is taken at the corner for maximum wide angleness.

 

Have you come across this issue, and does hover still work?

 

Thanks. It looks like $50 per for the simple 4 segment roof. That would be within my budget if it provided all of the above

 

 

Hi jasonN. The output I use from HOVER is their 2D measurement report and the 3D model.

 

I don't fully rely on the footprint HOVER gives me because it isn't great at recognizing wood framed decks and porches, but it can still be useful. I really like how it figures out the roof pitches, overhangs, chimney heights, parapet wall heights, ect. This is very helpful in modeling as-builts. I also rely more on the window/door dimensions from the interior with my manual measurements, but sometimes the HOVER window/door measurements can be helpful. 

 

I survey a lot of narrow lot homes with little to no space on the sides. With HOVER I just get as many corner pictures as possible, and I've been pretty satisfied with how it can put together the entire house and roof.

 

The one downside to using HOVER is you have to wait for it to upload and process, so you don't know if it will process properly and if you need to get more exterior measurements before you leave or not.

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27 minutes ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

Hi jasonN. The output I use from HOVER is their 2D measurement report and the 3D model.

 

I don't fully rely on the footprint HOVER gives me because it isn't great at recognizing wood framed decks and porches, but it can still be useful. I really like how it figures out the roof pitches, overhangs, chimney heights, parapet wall heights, ect. This is very helpful in modeling as-builts. I also rely more on the window/door dimensions from the interior with my manual measurements, but sometimes the HOVER window/door measurements can be helpful. 

 

I survey a lot of narrow lot homes with little to no space on the sides. With HOVER I just get as many corner pictures as possible, and I've been pretty satisfied with how it can put together the entire house and roof.

 

The one downside to using HOVER is you have to wait for it to upload and process, so you don't know if it will process properly and if you need to get more exterior measurements before you leave or not.

Show us how you use the 2D measurement report and the 3D model.  I have watched various Hover videos and see this one sheet that gives the footprint measurements in 2D (attached).  My questions are how do you deal with the missing measurements, and how accurate are those given, compared to field measurements.

 

Hover seems to be aimed at exterior remodeling contractors, and is quantifying everything they need to know to estimate roofing, siding, and trim.  Unless I am missing something, it does nothing for interiors, or structure.  Its pitch information is in whole inches.  

 

 

2021-07-05 10_13_12-(2) Pt. 2_ Never Pull Tape Again_ _ COMPLETE HOVER WALKTHROUGH - YouTube.png

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6 hours ago, GeneDavis said:

Show us how you use the 2D measurement report and the 3D model.  I have watched various Hover videos and see this one sheet that gives the footprint measurements in 2D (attached)

@nVisionTEKBIM

 

That was my question as well. What is your process and what information do you take and/or use from their report.

 

From what I can kind of gather, you would go to site, measure the interior walls, windows, take pictures for hover. Measure any decks, stairs  or anything else without a roof (as hover requires a roof to dimension)

 

Then go back to the office, wait for the hover file, then....

1. build a foundation from the hover report's foundation dimensions

2. build the main storey from the foundation in CA, then build interior walls from your measurements. Add windows, doors from your measurements

3. The use hover's pitch and soffit width dimensions to build roofs?

 

For 2, I assume you use hover as a double check for your dimensions, taking into consideration the wall thickness?

 

thanks

 

devil is always in the details. even the video above:

 

 

https://www.chiefarchitect.com/videos/watch/10212/as-built-measurements-best-practices.html

 

he takes the internal dimensions of the window with his laser, but CA expects dims to the outside frame (as it adds 1" for the RO). You do not see him measure the frame width, but you see him enter 72" into CA. so did he eyeball the frame width? Was 72" actually the inside dimensions of the interior frame? or did he do some math to get exactly 72". or did he measure something like 70 and 1/2 and assumed they were 72" windows.

 

He also doesn't say how he gets the dimension from floor to top of subfloor on the storey above for the stairs when the person asks about stairs and landings. Scott draws the room height, but the floor thickness detail is missing. usually the bottom stair or maybe two will extend past the stair opening, so this means you cannot just laser down, and  with landings it's impossible. From my experience you have to measure risers or bring a level laser, and put on the landing, and measure to the level line, or look at the joist structure in a utility room (typically how I do it), or assume/measure from the outside (second way I do it)

 

it's always about the details as that is what takes the time

 

 

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On 7/2/2021 at 12:46 PM, Renerabbitt said:

I have used it and will use it again when I don't have access to my intel LiDar rig. I take a Scan-Tech with me to perform the scanning while I take control measurements of the room as well as street measurements.
The scan to CAD service is useless. Hack-job drafter, get what you pay for. I've spent more time fixing Scan-to-CAD sets than I would've drafting it myself from the start. Accuracy is a problem with considering. With my L515, accuracy isn't an issue, but it takes longer in the field.(this will change over time)
The rep Ben has an active search for all things that mention Canvas, no doubt he will see this response. I understand that market value of the Scan-to-CAD service, and would suggest the service not try and recreate unique architectural features as more often than not the drafter being used is using sub-standard work-arounds. i.e. using p-solids for stair landings and moldings and not snapping edge to edge or point to point.

 

Rene, are you importing the Matterport OBJ and working from that? Do you have a sample file that I could try? I am looking at getting a cheaper camera (maybe Ricoh Theta V) so I can photograph my upcoming build but curious if I should just be hiring out a Matterport camera crew for my next as built.

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12 minutes ago, Gawdzira said:

Rene, are you importing the Matterport OBJ and working from that? Do you have a sample file that I could try? I am looking at getting a cheaper camera (maybe Ricoh Theta V) so I can photograph my upcoming build but curious if I should just be hiring out a Matterport camera crew for my next as built.

I am not using matterport. I am a big fan of open source software with full publishing rights. I use dot3d which is compatible with the l515 camera. I take measurements from the scan in the same way that I would if I were on site. The great part about it is that once trained, an apprentice scantech can scan the site for me with the L515 and an android phone or tablet. Takes them maybe 2 hours to scan and get roof pitch, and setbacks/street width. 
Biggest problem with canvas is it is stationary, single-station spherical scans. Meaning you will be missing details if the person scanning doesn't recognize the need for proper positioning in the room. Juxtapose to the L515 and Dot3d where the scan is working actively as I walk through a home from any angle or position with some minor limitations. You have to use targets placed on the wall for this.(sounds like a hassle but is quite simple really) 

My takeaway is very similar to my approach to design. Figure out which tools will offer the most equitable results. I use sketchup for modeling objects I need, not Chief. I use my canvas app for shoebox houses, I use the L515 when Ive got a detailed or high-end home.

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Update here for everyone:

 

So I did my as-built site survey this week using MagicPlan (https://www.magicplan.app/), and I so far I think it's fantastic! 

 

I didn't want to buy an expensive iPhone when I can use the android phone I just bought a couple months ago. So that was the reason I didn't want to try Canvas. I used MagicPlan on my android phone with a forearm phone holder (this allowed me to have both of my hands available instead of holding onto a clipboard and pen). MagicPlan works with my bluetooth laser and allows you to use your phone's camera to figure out the room dimensions or you can get a default square room or sketch your own. They have all of the common items to drop on your plan, like doors, windows, appliances, cabinets, ect., you can save favorites, and edit the dimensions, add phones, photos. Then it lets you drop the room into place to figure out the plan layout before you leave the site. I used the floor plan it created for me to import into Chief Architect and trace over.

 

In the MagicPlan app I would pick on items on the plan for more information, so I could model in Chief Architect.

 

Hopefully MagicPlan works for me in the future and helps me save time on the backend when I'm modeling in Chief Architect. Often times with paper and pen sketches I'm not understanding the plan layout (how the rooms go together). Having this mostly figured out on site should really save me time modeling.

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