Turn a Smartphone Into a Laser Rangefinder

August 22, 2017
 Spike unit turns smart devices into professional surveying instruments

There are various measuring and image apps for smartphones and tablet, but ikeGPS's Spike has developed a unit that turns smart devices into professional surveying instruments that communicates with Autodesk programs.

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, ikeGPS recently added AutoCAD capability to its Spike unit and cloud. Images can now be saved as Scaled Image files which can be imported into AutoCAD, where that program's native tools will draw the measurements. Currently, the Beta version of the Scaled Image software is free but the company plans to offer a subscription-based  enhanced version in 2018.  

How it works

The Spike device snaps on to Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones or tablets, connecting via Bluetooth. The user takes a photo using the device's regular photo feature, and captures the precise dimensions of an object in real-time measurements including area, height, length and width, as well as the location of the targeted object.

The digital image can be manipulated to measure and show specific segments of the picture, then saved as a JPG, PDF, Spike File (XML) and KMZ image. The real-time measurements are saved with the image.

Uploading the image to the Spike Cloud, the image can be shared and edited between devices running the Spike app, and KMZ files can be imported into popular GIS tools, such as ArcGIS and Google Earth. Photos that have been uploaded to the Cloud can be exported as a PDF, JPG (with measurements or image only) or a viewable URL on Android devices.

In Carbon County, Utah, the Spike unit was used to measure washouts on roads and culverts, then used that data to calculate how much material would be needed for the repairs. The data served as documentation for FEMA and the county's engineering team used the data to gain and reengineered the culverts.

Archived image files can be retrieved and edit.

The company says the accuracy of Spike’s laser rangefinder is ± 5cm (2in); the accuracy of photo measurements is ± 1%; and the accuracy of point-to-point measurements is ± 3%.