IPad and Canvas App - field test results

I did a field test today with the Canvas app and I was more impressed than I wanted to be, so I thought I’d share the details. … … in case anyone is interested. :smiley:

My iPad is a 12.9” Pro, 5th gen, software 15.6

I have been working on a project for the last several months to convert an old 1950’s bunker into a sauna. You may have seen me asking questions about the model, which was a learning experience to say the least.

Months ago I went out to the site, which was on a personal island and required a boat ride, etc. I made sure to get as many measurements of the space as possible because it is not an easy site to return to. With a pad full of measurements and a phone full of photos, I went home and painstakingly plugged through modeling this very unique space.

Here is the model (trigger warning for you experts, it has issues)

WM bunker.skp (3.0 MB)

And some photos of the space.

I was back on the site today, and I remembered something I had seen about the Canvas app IPad LIDAR scanner, and because I had a moment of downtime and a rare internet connection, I thought … why not.

I downloaded the app for free and was ready to go in less than three minutes. I did have to make an account, no big deal. The app was very straightforward and explained how to use it in real time, even chastising me for moving too fast. I scanned for less than 60 seconds before someone came in and said the meeting in the main house was ready. I hit ‘stop scan’ and figured I’d try again later.

When I opened my IPad again later, there was a grey, clay-looking thing waiting for me on the screen.

There was an option to upload the file and get a color version. I thought, that will be too busy, but hit the button anyway.

Totally…. Forking…. Worth it.

All this detail in less than 60 seconds of scanning. Sure I felt like a dork walking around with my IPad out in front of me, waving it around in circles and such… still worth it.

I began to investigate the app, and realized that there was a “share” function. I emailed myself the link and tested it.

Again… totally forking worth it. Here … check it out.

There are a few hiccups that I can see. I can’t get the measurement feature to do anything in the app, but it works great in the version opened from the shared link. Also, as you can see in the screenshots, there’s a little floating tip window that won’t go away. At all. For any reason…. Very annoying. But still.

There was an option to have someone draft a CAD file from the scan. I clicked it to see what it was about, but I won’t be buying it. (don’t need it) Maybe I’ll test it out later on another project, but here are the two screens that followed.

Now. I think this useful in certain situations.

  1. The measurements are close… not perfect. the width of the space is 11’9”, and the Canvas scan tells me that it is 11’7”.
  2. The ability to capture the stupid details in the space makes me happy. I have been scouring photos for positions of bolts, or current power runs, or light fixtures, or etc. This is so much quicker to see that kind of stupid detail, especially in comparing the positions of multiple details in relation to each other.
  3. It Would be more for me and reference info. I have to assume the clients already know what their spaces look like.
  4. I think maybe more time spent in the scanning phase would have helped with the clay look. Certainly I would have removed the chairs and table before scanning if I had thought of it… spent more time on the air exchanger and such,
  5. The entrance hallway is about 20” wide, and it wouldn’t allow me to scan in there, telling me that I was “too close, back up”, which I couldn’t physically do. :person_shrugging:

I think I will take a scan on the next couple of jobs I do, just to see if it helps my workflow at all, but in this case, heck yeah it did.

Here are a couple more screenshots from in the program.

Let me know if you have any specific curiosities and I’ll see if I can help. :smiley:


Thanks for sharing this. I don’t use IPads/Canvas but the combo looks interesting. It seems to be making ‘mesh models’ in whatever file type IPad uses. I mostly abandoned ‘mesh models’ (.obj, .fbx) because I didn’t find them accurate enough and focused on Point Clouds (.las, .xyz).

It seems you using the model as a visual reference, but not importing into SketchUp. Would you want to import (possibly with Skimp), or are you getting what you want from the visual reference alone?

I’d be curious, if you get a chance to check it out, what you think of Pix4D Catch: PIX4Dcatch: Turn your mobile device into a professional 3D scanner | Pix4D.

Anywho, thanks for sharing.