AirMagnet Surveyor reviewed

Making your Map

Though the above sounds like a lot of info to enter, most of it is set to default values by the Project Wizard and therefore takes only a few seconds. Your more daunting task is likely to be obtaining a map of the survey area in digital format. For the most part, AirMagnet leaves this important step as an exercise for the user, but tries to be accommodating in accepting files in BMP, DIB, DXF, EMF, JIF, JPG and WMF formats.

Large corporations might maintain up-to-date floor maps in digital format, but I suspect that most small to medium businesses don't. And even if they have a hardcopy drawing that can be scanned into digital form, it most likely represents only the floor / building outline and permanent / structural walls. Cubicle walls usually come and go as needed, with accurate maps drawn up only during major floor remodels.

I found this part of the Surveyor experience to be the most time consuming, taking about a half-day to complete. I was fortunate that I had the plans for my recently-built home available. But getting the D-sized prints scanned into digital form was not an option, since the round-trip to the nearest shop capable of doing the scan would have entailed another half-day and an expenditure that I was too cheap to make.

Since I'm also too cheap to have a copy of Visio lying around for occasional use, I instead hit Google and in search of a drawing tool that would display size and distance information of objects as they are created and placed. You'd think that some easy-to-use and inexpensive program would have this ability that Apple's MacDraw provided years ago! But the best I was able to come up with quickly (and for free!) and learn to use without devoting hours was VectorEngineer's QuickTools.

After going up a short learning curve with QuickTools, I used my house drawings as a guide and created a floor map that I then imported into Surveyor (Figure 7).

AirMagnet Surveyor Site map
Figure 7: The naked Site Map
(click on the image for a larger view)

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