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  • Writer's pictureAnders Olofsson

Testing the Precision of Apple's iOS RoomPlan API: A Polycam LiDAR 3D Scanning App Feature Review

Today we released a new video where we test Room mode in Polycam! Here is a short text summary and links to the videos. SUMMARY: FIRST VIDEO


Our first test video was released back in September 2022, a few days after Polycam released their scan to CAD and scan to floorplan features. This feature utilizes Apple's RoomPlan API, and is only available on LiDAR-enabled iPhones running iOS 16. We tested the new feature by scanning a restaurant, a 2 story house, and a small room and evaluated its performance in terms of interface, accuracy, and level of detail and information.

Some of the key findings from your tests include:

  1. Difficulty in tracking progress compared to LiDAR capture mode.

  2. Issues with capturing elevations, steps on the ground level, diagonal and irregular shapes, and sloping ceilings.

  3. Missing details such as pillars, posts, window dividers, and curved walls.

  4. Inaccurate scanning of staircases.

  5. Measurement accuracy tests revealed some discrepancies, especially in the smaller room due to posts and obstacles in the corners of the room.

Our conclusion from the tests suggests that while the new feature may not be suitable for professionals in renovation, design, architecture, or engineering, it can still be a useful tool for individuals looking to experiment with interior design and early-stage construction plans.




SUMMARY: NEW VIDEO


In the new video, we revisit the Polycam Room Mode. We first reflect on our previous review, where we pointed out significant issues with the automatic scan to CAD feature, such as inaccurate measurements, and problems recognizing architectural elements like doors, windows, steps, and elevation changes.

Subsequently, we retest the updated Room Mode, scrutinizing the improvements made since the last review. We note that while the capture process remains largely unchanged, the quality of the output has seen some enhancements. However, we observe that capturing irregularly shaped windows, steps, elevation changes, posts, and pillars continues to present challenges.


We then explore the new features of Polycam, including its enhanced floor plan mode and an in-app measurement tool. The floor plan mode transforms LiDAR scans into 2D floor plans. However, we highlight that any inaccuracies in the Room Mode scan, like missing doors and windows, will carry over to the floor plan output. We also express concerns about the tool's default settings, which include wall thickness in measurements and thus affect the measurements.

We conduct a scan of a two-story building and a smaller room. Despite noticing some improvements in accuracy and the measurement tool, we find that the persisting issues, such as missing architectural elements and inaccurate measurements, make the current version unsuitable for professional use.


That said, iOS LiDAR devices and Polycam have other capture modes like the raw LiDAR mode which include richer and more accurate data at the cost of a much larger and unstructured 3D mesh. Raw lidar models can be processed from the Room mode capture. It's probably only a matter of time before a solution like the RoomPlan API gets good enough for property professionals, and that might be one of the keys to changing how we document buildings by phasing out static 2D drawings. We're here to make it happen. Contact us today to learn more at email: contact@lidar3d.io Thanks for watching and reading.


Comparison between a 3-minute RoomPlan scan and the Actual layout.

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