ikeGPS is changing the way the world is measured, utilizing its smart laser measurement solutions to capture, record and export measurement data.
As a full-service sign shop, Naperville, Illinois-based Signarama can handle nearly any signage request, which keeps co-owners Herb Greene and Kathy Greene busy. Herb spends most of his time managing operations and inside sales while Kathy primarily works in the field and handles approximately 90 percent of Naperville Signarama’s site surveys, she says. With only one person in the field, Kathy relies on efficient site surveys to stay on schedule, but that isn’t always possible with traditional means, such as a tape measure and ladder, she says.
Tape measures can only cover a distance for so far before breaking in mid-measurement, and ladders pose significant safety issues, especially without a spotter. Herb says they’ve tried counting bricks to create estimates and eliminate the safety issue, but the varying sizes caused accuracy problems.
“We’ve counted bricks and assumed they were standard brick, which is about 3 inches high and 8 inches wide, plus about ½ inch of mortar, but it turned out that it was a utility brick, which is about 4 inches high and about 12 inches wide,” Herb says.
Looking for a better way, Herb and Kathy attended the 2015 ISA International Sign Expo where they purchased their first Spike, a smart laser measurement solution for conducting signage site surveys and estimations, and the device has gone a long way in improving Kathy’s efficiency in the field. Missing some measurements was a common problem before Spike, Kathy says. She might lack only one measurement, but Kathy would still have to return to the site, which hurt her productivity. However, now that Kathy has Spike, all measurements are saved with the photos in the Spike app, and return trips are no longer necessary.
“Spike has saved me from having to return to a lot of my sites,” Kathy says. “Now I take all the pictures I can using my iPad and Spike and store them for future reference. If I take a picture of every side of the building, I’m usually well-covered.”
This especially comes in handy when a client orders another sign in the future, Kathy says. Rather than retaking measurements, Kathy can simply pull up her existing photos at any time and measure the original site or another space on the property.
After Kathy takes property photos, she brings Spike and her iPad back to the office where she measures the pictures. Kathy then exports a PDF of the photos and measurements via email to her designer but first changes the default subject line to the name of the project. This keeps all email files categorized and helps Kathy and her team stay organized. If Kathy were ever tied up in the field, she could also measure the photos remotely and send the PDFs to her designer from her iPad.
Even when Kathy needs measurements for a sign that doesn’t yet exist, she finds that she can still use Spike to capture the measurements she needs. In that case, Kathy takes a picture of an object in the field, such as a street sign, and measures the object’s width. The Naperville Signarama design team can then take the measurements and scale a new sign on the photo of the property.
“We love creating those scaled photos because clients can see exactly how big the sign will be and what it will look like,” Kathy says. “It’s a great value add for our clients.”
Since purchasing their first Spike, Herb and Kathy bought another unit within a matter of months. While Kathy primarily conducts site surveys, Herb helps when she’s busy in the field, he says. Now equipped with Spike, Herb says he feels safer in the field and more comfortable with the accuracy of their site surveys.
“Spike eliminates that uncertainty we’d have with the tape measure or counting bricks,” Herb says. “As long as you take the photo correctly, you’re pretty close to matching the site’s ruler measure.”
In fact, Spike has been so effective for Naperville Signarama that Kathy solely relies on the device. Spike's measurement capabilities have met all of Kathy’s site survey requirements, and those traditional measuring tools stay at the shop. Now only one small device is needed in the field, making for a more productive and cost-effective site survey.
“Just get rid of your tape measure and ladder and save yourself some money,” Kathy says. “You don’t need them anymore. I just use the Spike; I take no other measurement tools at all.”
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Have you ever arrived at a site and said to yourself, “How the heck do I measure this?” Standing on your tip toes, you reach as high as you can with your tape measure, but you simply can’t get close enough to accurately capture the dimensions you need. You could have brought a ladder, but you’re a lone wolf without a spotter to hold the ladder steady. And who has the time or budget to mess with a bucket truck for a quick site survey, especially when you’re only in the bidding process?
Have you ever been guilty of guesstimating just so you can turn around an estimate faster and not fuss with a second survey? Maybe you even measured a shadow, used an arm’s length or counted bricks. Now show a raise of hands.
*Hands fly up*
That’s what we thought.
But then you win the job, and your cover is blown. So you have to return back to the site rather than work on a new estimate to win more business. Or, worse, the incorrect measurements lead to a loss of materials and money.
Maybe survey height isn’t even the issue. Landscaping or snow could get in your way, or construction could render an area inaccessible. Ever try measuring gutters on a house? Forget about it. When a busy street separates you and a building, you could channel your inner Frogger to get those measurements, but there’s a good chance that might not go your way. What’s a guy or gal to do?
That’s where Spike, a laser measurement solution, comes in handy. Just attach Spike to your smartphone or tablet, stand at a safe distance, snap a picture and capture all the measurements you need. Instead of long, frustrating hours, you can now measure in minutes and save yourself that headache. And rather than hauling a team of two or more people into the field, you can measure by yourself.
Spike measures distances from 6–650 feet, or 2–200 meters, away, so you have plenty of leeway when those tricky situations arise. If the survey area fits into your smartphone or tablet viewfinder, you can measure anything along that plane. And did we mention that your measurements boast an accuracy of plus or minus 3 percent when optimally positioned?
If you need more measurements in the future, you’re covered. The dimensions are all saved within the Spike photo, so you can remeasure your site at any time using Spike’s app or cloud-based tools. Tackling those hard-to-reach areas can be a huge strain on your time and budget when you have to send multiple people into the field, especially if return trips are necessary. Now you have time to bid on additional jobs and win more business. Don’t you look smart?
For more information about measuring hard-to-reach areas and improving your measuring process, learn about Spike here.
We recently released a new update to the Spike app for iOS (version 1.10.0). Below you will find information about what’s new in this release and how to access the related support documents.
Introducing Point-to-Point (iOS only)
With our new Point-to-Point feature, you can now use Spike to measure the distance between two points. Simply aim Spike at an object, such as the side of a house, and take a photo. Then, aim at your second object, such as a tree or fence, and take a photo. Spike then calculates the distance between those two objects. In addition to the linear distance measurement, Spike also calculates the vertical and horizontal components of that distance to provide the slope and angle between the two targets.
Use the Point-to-Point feature when you need to determine the distance between two objects. For example, to measure the distance between:
- The side of a house and a nearby tree.
- A store front and a sign in the parking lot.
- The side of a highway and a light pole.
- A utility line and a tree.
- The ground up to the roof line of a house.
When additional measurements are required, such as area, use the Photo Measure feature instead of Point-to-Point.
To learn more about Point-to-Point, review the following articles in the Spike Support Center:
- How to take a Point-to-Point measurement >>
- Requirements for taking accurate Point-to-Point measurements >>
Note: Point-to-Point is optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6S series and may not be as accurate on other devices.