Monday, September 14, 2009

Area Measurement - An Arbitrary Tool

A common request is for a tool to quickly measure the area of something. It's created a number of angry or puzzled posts at AUGI over the years. Most describe the tool as, "Give us the same tool as AutoCAD's Measure tool".

In my view most of the reasons for such a tool are disguised suggestions for improvements to schedules. A few examples? Glazing reports for the exterior envelope of a building. The Area tools would cover this but they don't work in elevation because of their bias for plan views. Some others are the area of Louver, grills, diffusers and floor materials or patterns. It comes down to curiosity I suppose, "How much area does this thing cover?".

I've no objection to having a quick area tool but we ought to be defining the kind of data that we'd like to have quick access to anyway, that Revit SHOULD do or provide. If we need the area of louvers once, chances are good we'll need to check those numbers again. Computers are good at that, why should we have to sketch around louvers at all or worse create a spreadsheet for that information? A louver schedule ought to provide a quicker summary of all of them. A quick look at the properties of a louver ought to tell us that.

A measure area tool would still be good to do something arbitrary once in awhile.

Incidentally the Region tool will do exactly that with maybe an extra click or two. They added that to the tool as a result of this issue. It is something you can keep for awhile too, or throw away. Seems that most people object to extra step of deleting the resulting Filled Region. We have to cancel out of the command in AutoCAD don't we? Semantics really. It'll get you what you want for now. If you set up an extra view to create them in you can revisit them anytime you want.

We can remind them that we'd still like a specific tool as well.

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