Category Archives: Geotagging

Architectural Technologist – Plangrid

Plan set from Plangrid

Thumbnail set

Sending out emails with PDF files, that are to near the top of anyone's email capacity, is a pain, collaboration is none existent, and are you looking at the right plan set !!


Enter stage left 'Plangrid', a PDF distribution app and web site for disseminating PDF plan sets. We, that is my other company Vantagepoint Cartographics, wanted a nice easy, fool proof system to distribute and control PDF Plans of the gardens we create and look after, to the selected gardening staff. We looked at Goodreader, for the iPad, but it was slow in loading our rather large PDF files, and to complicated for gardening staff to try and keep the latest map loaded, Dropbox offered a route that looked interesting, but again it proved uninteresting to gardening staff.

Plangrid for the iPad, on the other hand, seemed to solve all of these worries, not only did they, the gardening staff not have to worry about loading the right map, but markup and sending back to us their thoughts, is proving to be a really easy job, one they look forward to doing, almost no learning curve.

Pictures can be taken from the tools provided, and located correctly on the plan, and sharing back to us provides an email with the plan with the photo position, together with the actual photo below, with all the text added as to location, time and title.

The tool set, although limited in comparison to Goodreader, is more than sufficient for the staff to markup and annotate the drawings, and as for sharing back to us, no more difficult than sending an email. And with wifi available in the garden, it can be done almost anywhere.

Distribution is controlled via the web site, and auctioned by the administrator, just by adding the email of any member to the plan set, that member just need to download the Plangrid app for the iPad , and sign up with the same email address.

Revisions are easily seen from the plan thumbnails set, and easily switched to from the menu bar for each individual PDF sheet, in fact any revision you make is also seen on the thumbnail set by the addition of the big red dot !.

CPD is all over this, from office management, to client use, to just plain old keeping up with technology, for me it's been a three month + research, and testing, program, and I'm pleased to say, several Skype calls and emails to Plangrid, who were more than happy to talk technical., I will not be claiming any CPD, but you might, just following up the links and see how it might fit your practice.

Architectural Technologist – Sunday Morning

For me Sunday morning is for catching up, reading papers, watching a little morning news, reading my email, not business, but things like Brian Pickings Weekly, which comes out every Sunday, then there is the tea and toast in bed, yes you read right, and then there is the inevitable need to make notes, added to Evernote, follow up on articles, again making notes.


Today I made the desission to thin down my pile of magazines, I get so many, some I have requested, some just seem to come, some I actualy pay for, if they are remotely interesting, I keep them, adding them to an enormous pile, I'm glad to say that is reduced to just one magazine, this weeks copy of Horticulture Week, one of the few paid for subscriptions I make, for my Vantagepoint Cartographics Ltd work in arboretums, plotting trees, and such like. I also get the RHS magazine for the same reason.

The rest are free, I scan some into Evernote, it's such an easy way to record stuff, Dave Traynor in Belfast put me onto this, I had seen it advertised, but not used it, he sent a note to me and I thought, worth a try, and never looked back, tagging is the best thing, one article can be put into a folder, but I can add so many tags, google search picks up these tags and shows then in any search first, at the top of the list, now that's a powerfull tool.

What is it with Google+, I love the links, the search, the people, some just don't get it and to be honest, for a while neither did I, but the more I read, the more I comment, the more I post, the more I understand, lots of more here !, but you see what I mean.

The CIAT AGM in Belfast this year is going to be a belter of a meet, and one I will attend, just to connect with old friends and repay a few beers. Flights are booked to Belfast City airport, so guys, let's make this a belter.

So that's it. No CPD, just a Sunday morning, and a bit of a slow day, time for a cup of coffee, and finish this blog, today I'm using Blogsey, on the iPad, listening to Steve wright on the radio, wondering what time 10:00 am really is in my sons time scale, does it mean 10:00 am or later !

Today's photo is of a man I respect a lot, Douglas Hurd, one of the best foreign Secretaries we ever had, I saw him speak at a conference once, he spoke in English , then broke into reasonable French to answer a question, can any of the current lot do that !, no reason for his photo other than I saw him in a BBC program re the reform of our legal system given by none other than Harry Potter, no not that one the, Barister. Hurd has written a biography of Peel, the origin of our police system..



Architectural Technologist – Why bend a path to one side when you can go both sides of a tree

Both sides of a tree

Both sides of a tree (Photo credit: Scays)

As you might be aware, I have been walking, down in deepest Surry over the weekend, walking on the various commons, and we happen to go to  a rather wet area, that had a nice feature, in that most of the walks had been raised above with timber walkways, no longer do you have to damage the natural earth paths, and believe me with the number of walkers, bird watchers, dog walkers and every one else, damage is being done,

Even a tree in the middle of a path was accomodated, the path went both sides, a nice touch. and quite an easy detail, realy, and one that should be promoted. The support is made from logs, about 100mm + driven into the soft ground, with cross members bolted to the poles, timber rafters are then place on the cross supports, and rough sawn plans nailed to the top to form a walk way, so easy, yet so effective, and its these simple details that are so good, the timber looked as through it was taken from the forest areas, stripped of the bark, cut to length, about 1000mm long, no preservative that I could see or smell.

This is great conservation, and worthy of note, and one I will store in my Evernote library, as I get to do a lot of forest plotting work, this is one detail I might use. As always more photos on my flickr site.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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Architectural Technologist – Unusual Bench Mark

Bench mark on a grave stone detail

Bench mark on a grave stone detail (Photo credit: Scays)

I happen to be walking in deepest Surry over the weekend and came across this Bench mark, now I might have told you way back, that Bench Marks are usualy found on large stately buildings, cast into stone so they are a permanent feature, not liable to move, well, this one I found on the side of a pathway, to mark the death of a sailor, walking home, is a point in question, because its on a grave stone, I saw it and thought no it can’t be a bench mark, but the plaque beside it states that it is,  with a value of 267 m above sea level. a larger view of the whole grave stone and the plaque beside it, is on my Flickr page. CPD is there, as a reminder to the use of Bench Marks, and perhaps to my statement on permanence, it’s not always the case, as this item shows.

No time to add a blog over the weekend, it ok to go to these places, great walks and stunning wild life, but little or no WiFi, and no decent phone signal, so no blog, but lots of great shots to load up and one or two stories to tell

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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Architectural Technologist – World Builder by BranitVFX

Image representing Google SketchUp as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

About 3 years ago I found a video, about a strange man builds a world using holographic tools for the woman he loves. This award winning short was created by filmmaker Bruce Branit, widely known as the co-creator of ‘405‘.the landing of a jet on a motorway with a guy in a car getting lumped as the nose wheel. World Builder was shot in a single day followed by about 2 years of post production. Branit is the owner of Branit VFX based in Kansas City.

Why bring up this video from three years ago, simple, I was moved by the sentiment of the video, but even more taken by the science and futuristic vision of the CAD building resources. Has computing power moved on , can any of this be done now., it has logged over 2.8 million hits in the  three years, although considder that this film was using current thinking about a year before this, so maybe 4 years ago.

I have brought it back into view, just because I think of it as a mile stone, a way to view progress in the industry, a marker, as when this was produced it was little scifi, I had seen serval demo systems at universities, of holographic systems, they are so cool to use, you soon get the hang of the gloves and specs, heavy and cumbersome as they are.

Some of the film is still scifi, but bits, no a lot of the items I think have moved out of the realm of Scifi into possibility. Take for instance the keyboard and colour pallet used, just by tapping all his fingers together, why this gesture, well it’s a movement we would not generally make, but what about the holographic keyboard, well look about the net and you will see several projected keyboard, perhaps not totally holographic, but close the Celluon Magic cube is one such item, how long will it be before the gestures of a keyboard become the gestures on pulling a wall up in Sketchup, or pulling up a colour pallet, not long I think

There are several prototype mock ups of the new iPhone 5. Many implying the holographic keyboard, certainly the computing power is there, put in the projection, I’m sure apple can do better than the Celluon and from the iPhone to boot.

Next  Take the google eyepiece or glasses, surely this a development that could come easily, we know there is a front facing camera, will it be possible to augment a building using sketchup, whilst looking at the building, I think we are at that point.




Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

Visit Vectorworking



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Architectural Technologist – Maps with Apple or Google

Image representing Gizmodo as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I, like many of you out there, use OS maps a lot. I buy from a shop in Stourport on Severn, I phone, give them an address, or  post code and I get a file by return on email, I like this service, The Map Shop, who I use, have a nice friendly atitude, I know I could go to one of the online electronic store but to be honest, I use a mac and original they the online services did not support us, so I used the Map Shop, and stuck with them, besides I like the banter and chat.

But thats not what I wanted to draw to your attention, its the battle thats now waging between Google and Apple, on their respective map services. I use maps from Google, I print to pdf any site, and use it as a background to outline a site boundary and features before I go the THe Map Shop and order n OS map. Vectorworks has a nice abitity to rescale and ones a known dim is used to pull the map into line it’s good enough to use for a quick scheme.

But now we have tow major players looking to get my attention, Apple have or will remove the google links and rely upon their own data, Gizmodo have an excellent article outlinging the two different maps although the Apple map  is till under Beta, I quite like the scrisp look of their maps, but I use Google not for just the basic map, but the street view which has helped out many a time, and all the embeded data, will Apple come in at the same level, I can’t think so, although the 3D map looks very promising.

3D also adds another question as to how I can add my building to it, several great videos on youtube outline this and I will do a little research to show how to do it, in another article, ok with a Vectorworks biast, but as general as I can.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Friday at 3 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

Visit Vectorworking



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The hinge may be 800 years old but,,,,,,,,,

Hedged door

We all use door closers, but last week in Tuscany, I came across an alternative door closer detail, I saw in Tuscany, it was a simple devise that was fitted on the very bottom of a medieval door to a ground floor room. It consisted of a offset bar that thrower the base of the door out, lifting the far edge of the ground, so it did not catch on the uneven ground.

Plus it acted as a simple door closer pulling the door back into place as long as it was not passed the 90 deg point after which it pulled the door to 180 deg.

A simple detail that did the job, the only problem was the un controlled banging of the door as it shut, but hey, this building was built, or at least was started in 1200

I have added other photos to my Flickr site, it you want more of the hinge or of the castle I went to, all the photos are geo tagged.

Just because the detail is so old it codes not mean its not to be considered, or learned from.