I just knew this had to be possible. We used to do it with a quick sketch on an Newton screen and pacing off the floor. Why couldn’t we collect data with our smartphone camera and then use modern processors to crunch dimensions of the room we are in. Well, actually we can, with the help of the free app MagicPlan.
MagicPlan is free to use for non commercial use. Launching the app starts you off with a list of videos on how to use MagicPlan. You can’t get past the videos without watching at least the first ‘how to’. There are many in the list to get the maximum out of the app for any room or building layouts. Next, choose to view a previously created room map, start a new, set english or metric measurements or scale calibrate. The calibration step can happen right after taking a series of room photos later if you find the need without having to return to the start page.
Choose to start laying out the rooms of a house, MagicPlan tells you where in the world you are, complete with map and address. Take a picture of the location, great for when your touring houses to buy. MagicPlan handles multi story houses, just tap the big green ‘+’ button to get started.
OK, after watching the videos, I learned all I have to do it take a panorama photo of a room, telling MagicPlan where any corners are. As you can see below, the yellow corner graphic is the alignment tool. As you turn the iPhone, the yellow line aligns with a corner, the lower split even moves about by it’s self to match the angle of the corner. When the line is on the corner, tap the button on the right of the screen, then continue to the right to the next corner. For doorways, align with the corners of a doors and tap the button on the left of the screen. Serious… that is all you have to do!
From just snapping shots of corners, MagicPlan produced the below. I just had to pace it off to see how close it was… insane, spot on! All of the slight angles and cut backs matched up. I didn’t put in the doors in this text, but did do one inside of the house and the doors addition meant the finish result would be perfect for thinking about furniture placement without having to be in the room.
Move from room to room and capture all dimensions, stitching together for an overview of the floor. You can add items within each room like partial walls, room dividers and closets too. Imagine what buying a house will be like if you can get a full layout in just minutes. MagicPlan is actually amazingly accurate. We can image a lot of different businesses will be stepping up for the commercial version.