quick measurments


do any architects use this to get a few quick dimensions on a project…and NOT get the plan clean up service for that particular task? can i use the raw data myself?


I am assuming you are asking these question in regards to the Canvas Application.

You can do simple measurements within that app directly, or you can export the OBJ file (for free) into a 3D graphics program that can do the measurements.


I use Canvas to get the room scanned for construction estimating. I don’t use the service. We don’t do residential work. Most of the projects we Bid either have really large or irregular spaces, or are made up of a lot of rooms making the service prohibitively expensive. I bought the sensor to save me time and money, not to add more expenses.

I was super disappointed (pissed) after I realized that the Canvas detailed color rendering isn’t free. And the room scan app is really only a proof of concept program,woefully inadequate and outdated and Skanect is useless in the field.
To calm myself down I decided to try learning the coding/development possibilities.

So I don’t use Canvas for precise Measurements. It’s nearly impossible to accurately choose two points for the ruler.
Corners of walls windows and doorways are especially difficult because of the poor scan detail. (All corners are very rounded and low res) The only measurement in Canvas that kind of works is between two faces (i.e. Floor to Ceiling.) However If Canvas doesn’t prompt you and ask if you are trying to select two faces you are sol. You may think your points are good but most often off once you change your viewing angle. You go from this ( I ) to ( / ) and accuracy is way gone.

It’s not a great tool if you need more detailed measurement. (I use a separate blue tooth laser to add dimensions to room photos.)

It is an awesome tool to give me a better overall sense of the space because even photos don’t tell the whole story


From the Canvas web site, impressed with the demo/advertising video, I purchased the sensor package and installed Canvas with the intent of speeding up the modeling of as-built residential models for architecture.

[Edit: previous whine deleted after being contacted by Alex with a detailed response to my email to support that had slipped through the cracks. Will update here or in a new thread with my experience if improved scanning technique improves my scans.]


Hi all! Alex from Occipital here - I’m the product manager for Canvas. I wanted to weigh in with a few notes as well as offer to help any time with these or any other issues: simply DM me on the forums and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

First things first: thanks for using Canvas!

Justin is correct that Canvas currently doesn’t have color rendering due to the limitations we have on RAM from the iPad. Room Capture does offer this, but Room Capture also typically only lets you scan a much smaller space (it’s a demo app, after all, and not intended for this use), so the memory limitations are less pronounced. We do colorize the scans after they are uploaded for cloud reprocessing, but that also does cost us some money, so we can’t provide it 100% for free. Definitely something we’d like to make work all on the iPad at some point, but we’ve got a lengthy to do list, so it doesn’t happen overnight :slight_smile:

In the meantime, @Justin, if you do just need the colorized scans (which are also enhanced after the reconstruction), we do have a private beta we open up for customers that need it where you can access just the reprocessing pipeline without full Scan To CAD. Just drop me a DM if you’d like to use it and I’ll set you up. Because the scans are reprocessed with more powerful algorithms in the cloud, that also means the measurements should be more accurate, and they also come back to the device for you to use on your iPad, or use in a desktop program with a mouse like MeshLab (a mouse often makes it easier to get precise points).

Otherwise, about the in-app measurement tools themselves — this is definitely something we want to provide better tools for! Measuring the mesh itself inherently requires a certain amount of care and precision, and while the planar measurement tool does help, there are lots of other ideas we have for common measurements you might need to make like door widths, windows, etc. @MontanaKarl, I’m going to reach out to you to get your information and get in touch right away. We do monitor our support email closely, so I’m not sure what would have happened to lead to you not getting a response, but that is definitely not a good experience, and I’ll make sure we rectify it.

I also have a hunch that there might be something to do with scanning technique that is leading to worse scans (the measurement you mention is out of the expected tolerance), and we can probably help. We’ve been working on a tutorial video to help people more quickly learn “ideal” scanning technique, and should be releasing that shortly!


Hello guys – I work for Occipital as the Canvas Subject Matter Expert in our Customer Experience team. I can definitely help you out.

Feel free to post here or reach out via email.

I created this document for users who wanted to extract measurements easily on a desktop setup. The program Meshlab is extremely useful for this purpose. We’ve got other user interface improvements down the line, but this is something you can set up today and use to get valuable results.

I hope you get some utility out of this document and that it enhances your experience of our product.

#include good luck


note: Download the whole package. Unzip. Then, start at the README, which explains how to view the document properly!


Seriously, Charlie? I’ll read through the doc after lunch… but for “Customer Experience”… this markdown zip just seems to confirm that you guys are totally out of touch with the concept of support for a retail product (vs developers) and who your site seems to say the audience for Canvas is.

I’ve trained architects and builders for many years in architectural tech, and can assure you that of the 100’s I’ve worked with - none of them would “get” the concept of installing Chrome, if they didn’t have it, installing an extension, opening a markdown file… and all of that only to view what could have been presented on your support site as a HTML or PDF document.


@MontanaKarl you are absolutely right that that should be a PDF. It got shared a little prematurely because Charlie was trying to help as fast as he possibly could, and that doc hasn’t been wrapped together into a nice and polished package just yet.


Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the “Intro Meshlab” doc - fun exploring this. FWIW, I just installed Meshlab the other day v2016.12 on a Mac … and the out of box keyboard shortcuts are a little different from in your doc. I move in the Z axis with shift-click-drag (vs cmd-alt-click-drag), and can move the light source with shift-cmd-click-drag (vs alt-cmd-click-drag). So maybe the defaults changed. Posting in case that helps anyone.

You mention under filesharing connecting the iPad to a computer to offload files as an alternate to email. The Canvas app has the standard ‘send to’ icon (box with emitting arrow) that brings up the send to options which include saving the file onto Dropbox, Google Drive, etc which is probably easier.

Your tips at the end show many of the issues I’ve seen in my scans so far. Will try out the suggestions and see if I can get some better scans that are worth sending in. Thanks!


I recently acquired a structure sensor and ipad mini 4 to begin an interior
remodel project and wanted to just raise my hand and be included on any updates
to this particular thread…Also, a quick question…what I see on the screen of my ipad after scanning with Canvas
is a “cotton-wooly mess” version of the room I have scanned. How are you supposed
to choose “points” to try to get accurate measurements from such a view? Or, does the 3D accuracy come
with the “scan to CAD” service documents (I have ordered one to see what comes back) …I also want to figure out a
workflow that goes to some software on my Macbook Pro to make using this equipment and Canvas “affordable”…$29 per scan session is not feasible for me…thanks!


Hi Tim:

I have tried to use it for quick measurements, and it is, in my opinion, not “quick” enough nor accurate enough to use as a viable way to measure even minimally unless you are very accurate in your initial scanning. I use the Canvas for clean up, and they do a reasonable job providing clean drawings from the scans.
What is nice about the scans is you can combine individual rooms by using a merge command. Not sure if they have included that in the final program, but during beta it was working.
Forgot to add that I am a semi-retired architect originally licensed in CA and HI and been in practice for over 45 years.


Hi George,

Great to hear you put through a Scan To CAD! If you’d like, send me a PM with your email and I can look at the order for you to provide any tips on scanning technique to help with accuracy, detail, etc.

This FAQ should explain a bit more about what things look like before and after Scan To CAD: https://canvas.io/support/what-scan-cad. The CAD model is generally more accurate in an absolute sense (because it has gone through server-side reprocessing and enhancement - which you should see now on that scan if you hit “Reprocessed” in the bottom-right of the scan screen). But most of the reason people think it’s significantly more accurate is just that it’s easier to work with in a CAD program where the model has been simplified into boxes and lines with discrete edges and snapping. A mesh is basically how our software reconstructs your space, and it doesn’t yet know “a wall is a wall, and this wall is separate from that wall” which is why working in CAD programs is often easier. That’s what Scan To CAD does - bridges the gap to that data format, which is easier to work with.

You definitely can do Scan To CAD yourself, though most choose to use our service if they want to convert the file: https://canvas.io/support/can-i-do-scan-cad-myself. That link will have some information about different programs and workflows you can use.


Hi Alex…thanks much! looking forward to seeing the resulting file…and I
will indeed PM you on the forum…thanks!


Hi Alex…
just got the new scan to sketchup conversion cad etc files…the sketchup
model looks great…I will now move forward and scan an adjoining area for
a continuation of
the area I am re-deisgning…
one question…do you guys have a discounted license agreement with the
Sketchup people I might be able to take advantage of? I just bought my
structure scanner and ipad mini 4 bracket off of Amazon and not from your


Awesome! Glad to hear it.

We don’t have any discount arrangement unfortunately :frowning: though I very much would like to set that up. In the meantime you could use SketchUp Make, but I think they are transitioning that to a web-based version. That’s also only supposed to be for personal use, but you could try it out and see if it’s worth buying a license.

Are you new to SketchUp in general? If so, you may be interested in this: http://sketchupforinteriordesigners.com/. It’s fairly interior design-centric but definitely will teach you the ropes of SketchUp. I have heard great reviews from other people I have sent her way.



hi Alex…just saw this…thanks for that and will post my progress later today…thanks!