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Thread: Remotely figuring square footage..

  1. #1
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    Remotely figuring square footage..

    I am currently a student at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston MA updating a Market Research Analysis for a Roxburry MA community.

    I was wondering if anyone knew of any sound methodologies for calculating square footage without actually taking the measurements by hand.

    Perhaps there is a software program that allows the user to measure a building's exterior to approximate the interior square footage. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks

    bozekj

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I don't know of any software or such, but you could probably just measure the footprint and make a guess at the square footage by using the number of floors and taking into account and upper floor setbacks or occupied pitched roofs.

    or you could go to the municipality and they may have a set of building permit plans that you could review and take measurements from the plans.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  3. #3
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    Thanks..

    Thanks for the help.

    There is an abundance of assessor's data available that could help. I am however, looking to come up with some sort of method that could incorporate a Geographic Infromation System to reduce the reliance on having to acquire blue prints.


    Thanks

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bozekj View post
    ...incorporate a Geographic Infromation System to reduce the reliance on having to acquire blue prints.
    Well, if you can get or create a building footprint layer, you could use that to measure the footprint square footage, but unless you have 3-D modeling capability for the GIS program you're using, you will probably still need to do it the old fashioned way for multiple story buildings (go to the local permit office and review the files).
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    How about CAD?

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    You might want to check out the Mass GIS website. They may have building footprints for Boston. If not, contact the Boston Redevelopment Authority. They have digitized maps showing building footprints in a format that can be read by ArcMap.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    At my planning department we have some in house software that is aerial photos with 6 inch resolution of the whole county from 5 angles (N, S, E, W, & overhead). There is a tool that goes with the program which can measure length & height! Since all the photos are roughly on the same oblique I guess it works that way? It also gives elevation but that's not as accurate as we're finding. So in this program we can draw a polygon around an object and it tells us the area contained within. It's called pictometry, google it and you might find a vendor, it's pretty pricey though.
    @GigCityPlanner

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Creating a layer of building footprints will enable you to calculate the square footage. You can then merge it by address or some other id to the assessor's data which may or may not give you building square footage, but you'll have to adjust for # of stories and # of units. Comparing the two numbers should help refine your estimate, which unless you collect the plans and confirm it all, is all your going to have even with the software. It's not perfect, but it's a method.

  9. #9
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    measuring space

    not to be too picky, but what are you looking to capture exactly?

    Gross SF for a macro type study or is this a facility utilization type study where you need to calculate Net SF?

    There are a ton of intricacies when figuring Net Square Footage in buildings, and Gross Square Footage can be very misleading depending on the building (hospitals for instance tend to have a ton of GSF, but also tend to have lots of very wide hallways that are not considered net useable space.....

    that said.....even if all you have is an aerial photo, you can take a swag at the gross SF by scaling it, if you can spot something measurable in the photo like a car for scale....

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