Mark Bell wrote:
Something you might consider for future releases is the ability to contour search DataCAD entities, especially smart walls of a design in progress.
Thanks for the suggestions Mark,
The current macro can 'convert' existing polylines to 'Spaces', so you could use DataCAD's existing contour search to create polylines and then convert them (the process of 'converting' simply adds a number of attributes to the polyline entity).
I will look into adding the contour search into the macro in a early update (replicating the DataCAD contour search should be relatively easy, but I had also contemplated a more sophisticated contour search that could recognise door openings etc and treat them appropriately ... probably I will just start with the easier option first and contemplate the harder one in a later release!)
Interestingly, the ability to search Smart Entities was also something that MFM suggested in an early discussion I had with him when I started this macro .... but he then went on to acknowledge that it was not possible as they had not exposed the smart entities to DCAL as yet. The current macro is written in Classic DCAL (which I doubt will ever have access to the new entities), but I do plan to convert it to DCAL for Delphi for future releases, so hopefully if the smart entities are exposed I will be able to incorporate your suggested functionality.
Mark Bell wrote:
In multi-storey scenarios, can your upcoming macro allow floor by floor 'Layer' separation of polyline areas and annotations?
The current macro can report and sub-total by layer, although it can only use the 8 character layer names. As an alternative, it also allows you to assign a 'Category' to each space and sub-total by Category (the category can be up to 60 characters long). Currently it can only sub-total on one or the other ... Would it be helpful to be able to report on Category within Layer ?
I use Blocker to measure the area on each type of room / area in the building. In one case, this was a nursing home, which needed a spreadsheet analysis of many categories of room types. The total usable areas needed to be compared to the total gross area, to get a ratio of the areas, of various types of uses in the building. The spreadsheet is required to show that the plan has the required size for the various uses.
Another similar situation is in a commercial building, for the area sizes of each lease unit, and the common areas, circulation space, etc.
This could also be used to get a area of various flooring materials.
I think this is where the macro's ability to add a Category to each space might be very useful. The report can then be sub-totalled by category and can show a percentage of area for each category. The macro can copy the report to the clipboard, so can easily be copied to a spreadsheet (you would probably want to make sure you used decimal notation rather than fractions in the macro's units settings, as I know that Excel will recognise '1/2' as a fraction, but I think it will have problems with the smaller fractions as well as distances that are shown in feet and inches).
The macro can report on existing spaces created with Blocker, so you could also report on these by layer (but the macro does not allow you to manipulate Blocker spaces, so you cannot add a category to them).
We still work exclusively in 2D construction drawings, though, and having a organized way to measure and report floor areas (and wall areas for that matter!), would be a very important update in DataCAD.
The macro can also report on wall areas (it simply multiplies the perimeter by the net z-height of the polyline).
Would it be helpful to be able to categorize wall areas (either by room, or potentially being able to define each line segment of a polyline as a different wall category and the having the ability to report by wall category as a separate report type)?
Would it be helpful to add percentage reporting for wall areas (in the same way that the macro reports percentages for floor area) ?
I use Blocker for quick, plan studies for spaces and SF and Blocker gives me the overall SF of various spaces and then allows those SF to change as I massage the spaces to get the SF down to what a client can afford or needs. And, I use it mostly for existing plans to obtain the SF table, as others have commented about.
One option I have considered for a future release is the ability to automatically update a report that has already been placed in the drawing (either dynamically as you change spaces, or else at the press of a single button). Once I convert the macro to Delphi it may also be possible to automatically update an excel spreadsheet as you change spaces. I'm getting the impression that these might be sought-after enhancements ?
Those that I consulted with during development seemed to have an emphasis on using the macro as a design tool (creating, dragging spaces around, manipulating them etc.). Hence the name 'Space Planner
But the impression I'm getting is that the reporting of already designed spaces is just as big an emphasis (if not bigger) for a lot of potential users of the macro .... this is actually the way I would have seen it (but then I'm more of a technician than a designer), so I will definitely look at enhancing the reporting aspects of the macro going forward, and will also look at tighter integration with Excel spreadsheets as a possible avenue of enhancement. Possibly the Delphi version of the macro will be renamed simple to 'Spaces'.
Thanks for all the comments, and obviously I am still happy to receive further comments or suggestions.