Much of the time of a facility planner, restoration architect or heritage recorder is spent, on site analysing the building and collecting data and measurements. These will be used later to create the reports and drawings that will provide the basis for the subsequent design but these notes and measurements are just the beginning of the long process of drafting the as-found situation. Errors are inevitable in this type of work but, typically they only come to light, back in the office where confirming a measurement may entail an extra trip to the site, and there are times that they only turn up when a contractor encounters problems on the job.
A software tool, currently under development, addresses this problem by first helping to structure the note taking process so that more consistent data is collected, and then, automatically creating a 2D or 3D CAD model from the resulting database. This can be done on a laptop computer, before the recording team leaves the site so that the model can be compared with reality and faulty or missing measurements corrected. Furthermore, this combination of database and drawing is linked, allowing queries of the data from inside Autocad or the assembly of a specialized model based on a database query.
Point collection techniques supported include traditional (and not so traditional) hand measurement, total station survey equipment and interfaces with other software such as rectification and photogrammetric packages. The applications envisioned include as-found recording, facilities management data collection and the possibility of a totally data-driven GIS.