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MagicPlan App Can Create Floor Plans By Photographing Corners of a Room

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Published: 21/11/2011
By: larry

About a month ago Scott Hargis pointed out the MagicPlan iPhone app to me because we were talking about improving the floor plan diagrams in the next edition of his Lighting book. I downloaded the app but it wouldn't work on the iPhone 3S I had at the time. Last week I upgraded to a iPhone 4s so I tried MagicPlan again.

Wow! I have to say I was blown a way. As the little promo video shows, you stand in the center of a room, spin around and take shots of each corner of a room and each side of doors and the app creates a floor plan. No need to measure, no need to move furniture and no need to draw. My first impression was how is it doing this? It truly seems like magic. If you want you can calibrate the dimensions by measuring one wall of a room.

The app is free for download. The final floor plan is free for non-commercial use (includes a watermark) and $1.10 USD for commercial use (with the watermark removed).

I know, you Android people are saying, "what about and Android app?" Sensopia, the app developers say an Android app is in the works. 6 months ago when the MagicPlan was first released the iPhone 4 was the only device that had a gyroscope. Since that time Android handsets that have gyroscopes are more widely available.

Running this app takes some practice. It took me several rooms to get the hang of selecting the corners of the room even though you can't see the exact corner of the room because of furniture or drapes etc. But once you get the hang of it, you can put together floor plans very quickly. This app makes it very easy to add floor plans as a product to your real estate photography services if you are inclined to do that.

17 comments on “MagicPlan App Can Create Floor Plans By Photographing Corners of a Room”

  1. I have used Magic Plan on both an iPhone and iPad2. While I think the concept is really cool and does work on a perfectly square room, I don't believe it is ready for production by our photographers. Here is my experience.

    - Kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms with furniture and fixtures hide the corners of the room causing the system to create odd shaped rooms
    - Once a room is drawn and you want to edit a wall or corner the options are very limited especially if there are angled walls
    - Each room is drawn with no relationship with another room so when you try to align to another room it frequently does not align as desired

    I spoke to the developers and they said they are working on the issues I experienced. I look forward to new versions. They certainly have a great concept and would certainly increase prodcutivity if they can solve these issues. For me, it is not ready yet.

  2. Very interesting app. I have been measuring with a laser measurer and drawing plans in Illustrator -- this might work very well in creating most of the plan and then just polishing it up later. Thanks for the link Larry, I have downloaded it and I will see how it goes.

  3. I tried this new app a couple months ago. It definitely has possibilities especially if the room is vacant or has nothing in the middle of it. When I tried to measure my dining room with a table in the center and my kitchen with a center island I got crazy results because I could not sit on top of the table or the center island. I currently sketch the rooms and draw/host them in Floorplanner.com.

  4. I have had similar experiences in that it's great when it works but you're stuck if it doesn't. If they can integrate some practical floor plan editing tools into the app and basically make the "magic" part just *one input* for creating rooms, it has a shot at being something more than an interesting concept.

  5. To create a marketing piece, a navigation photo or just a "hint" this is a fantastic product. If you want an exact floor plan - then get a professional. Just like there is a difference between a real estate photographer (hopefully) and a real estate agent with a point and shoot, there is a difference between Magic Plan floor plans and a professional company like Measurecomp. We feel that Magic Plan is good enough to get us where we need to be. It's hard enough squeezing dollars out of agents and if this helps in the justification of higher pricing, then great - use it. If not, you are creating more work for yourself that you may or may not need. I personally haven't found agents willing to pay extra for the floor plan, but do want it included in the cost because they know how cheap it is! To do the plan the most accurately and correct, unlike the video we don't spend one minute but rather 3 - 7 minutes per room. Boxes are on the faster side, but rooms with windows, closets, multiple doors and lots of architectural details take longer.
    That being said - I love the product and am glad I am off the measure by myself or pay measure comp pathway!

  6. @Shawn, it actually does well with the heads up display to assist in locating the visable corners. In fact a tripod may hinder the process. In my opinion, it is the obstructed and hidden corners that cause the drawing inaccuracies not stability. I hope they address these issues because I really want to use this.

  7. This looks very interesting. In my part of the SE US very little real estate marketing include floor plans, specifically resales. In fact our local MLS has only recently allowed us to disclose square footage... Nevertheless, this could be a great added value service provided it was accurate and not too time consuming. I think I will probably wait for version 2.0.

  8. Just be careful with liability. My broker discouraged me from using this app because I, the agent, will be the source of the floor plan, not the homeowner or others. Even saying 'all measurements should be verified by the buyer' does not cover liability two years later when they decide to sue.

  9. I've been tinkering with this app for a couple of weeks. As mentioned above, for simple rooms it works pretty well. My challenges have been non square rooms or huge spaces such as great rooms where one living space flows into another. I will also agree that once the initial rooms are completed, the tweaking of imperfections and any additional editing is not super user friendly.

  10. I use a Floorplanner.com published URL that is inserted into a Custom link on pfretour. The monthly is a little high but the results are high tech IMO.

  11. I have tried in out a couple of hours now. And its have been working to divide one room into two rooms if there is great difficultys. Like blind corners. Then i have aligned them afterwards.

  12. I, too am waiting for the Android version, but from those I know that are already using it in it's current version, I certainly hope they hurry with the Android one. Floor plans are far more help in helping potential buyers really understand the space than most anything else, even the greatest photographs. Together, pictures and floor plan, the combination is dynamite.

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