It’s not a bad idea to measure the room, before you go out and buy a bunch of new furniture. After all, who among us has not gotten that really great looking piece of furniture delivered only to realize it won’t fit the room. But even if you have mastered tape measuring 101, sketching the dimensions of any room into a rendering that reflects reality can be a skill that can elude even the most coordinated of us. Now, for iPhone users, this task becomes less of an ordeal because you can trade the tape measure, ruler and graph paper for a slick new app that automatically generates floor plans by simply tapping your iPhone on every wall of a room. Called RoomScan, the app relies on the iPhone’s built-in GPS and gyroscope to determine distances and the orientation of walls. It is accurate to within about half a foot, but can be coupled with a laser measure to refine the accuracy of the dimensions, and it easily places doors and windows into the sketch.
The free version of RoomScan is great for scanning single rooms and RoomScan Pro, available for just five dollars, offers many advanced features. The finished floor plan on either version appears in just seconds with approximate wall lengths and floor area, and can draw floor plans of L-shaped and complex rooms just as easily as small rectangular rooms. Numerous rooms are automatically connected together to create a plan of the whole floor. The app is sure to be a favorite for the architecturally challenged “Do It Yourselfer” who is looking for a simple rendition to help redecorate the outdated family room. But the professional interior designer and layout architect need not worry about being replaced by the app and its companion smart phone, just yet.
RoomScan’s simplicity is great for the weekend laymen, but it lacks the sophistication for identifying and marking specific details necessary to generate a workable, professional document. Features like applying applicable building construction codes, wall thickness, electrical receptacles, switches and fixtures as well as the ability to identify the differences between structural and astatic elements are just a few features that still require personal, hands-on attention of a trained professional. But for those who long to draw and connect series of straight lines or pre-place furniture and objects within a given space, the RoomScan promises to be a great addition to the handypersons tool box and may save many hours of suffering sore, painful muscles brought on by “let’s see how it will look over there, honey” syndrome.