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What do you need in a sketcher?

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jdbiggers

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
Hello.

I would like to know what features you most need in a skecth program. I know the featues I use and need, which are minimal, but I need to have the input from other appraisers.

If you could briefly state a few things you like or WOULD like in a sketching program, please do so.

Thank you.

John-David Biggers
J-D Biggers Appraisal & Consultation
 

Roger

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Missouri
Get and run a copy of Apex, and you'll see just about everything that works well for me.

I've tried several others, and it works the best.
 

jdbiggers

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona

Get and run a copy of Apex, and you'll see just about everything that works well for me.

I've tried several others, and it works the best.
That's not an answer. What about Apex. I have it. Doesn't seem any different from aything else. You just have a minor different way to accomplish the same things.

I mean WHAT do you need. Not what do you use.
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
DCSketch (now DCSKWIN) has been my primary sketch program for about 10 years.

Because Apex and WinSketch are commonly packaged with the most popular appraisal software, I've given them both a try. After spending a couple of days with each (not enough to become an expert) I decided that DCSketch has some capabilities that I don't want to give up.

To answer your question:

The features I need all involve the ability to easily modify the sketch at any time.

DCSketch lets me add, delete, drag, join, split, or modify walls, corners, or sections at any time during the sketching process. It's easy to check the living area at any time.

Here's an example - just sketched a condominium a few minutes ago.

Because the norm varies from project to project in this area, I'm never sure whether to use airspace measurements or exterior measurements. I first did the sketch using my interior measurements and was way off of the reported GLA's for that model. So, I dragged the exterior walls out 1/2' and the GLA was right on.

Whenever possible, I measure 2nd and 3rd levels in relation to the first floor. With DCSketch, I made a copy of the first floor, labeled it as the second floor and simply moved the walls to reflect the differences. Drew in the stairwell and the second floor was done.

If I get a mirror image of the same plan, it's simple to do a flip.

When I measure a large irregularly-shaped home, I like to take measurements from reference points in the yard. With DCSketch, I can set a reference point, figure out where the measured points are, and just connect the dots. Had a job recently with about 50 corners on the house and the major sections were not at right angles. With DCSketch, I could get the most important lines down, correlate them with the reference points and interior measurements, and then fill in the blanks for the smaller details.

You can even take a whole section of the sketch and rotate it. This is handy when you have a complicated wing that's oriented 37.5 degrees off of the main house.

I'd be very interested in hearing any disadvantages to DCSketch. I can't think of a single one.

Koert

_______________________________

Arguing with an appraiser is like mud wrestling with a pig... You soon find out the pig likes it!
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Not to sound like a commercial, but Apex is a great product. I don't use Apex now, but did a few years back before I opened my own shop. I now use a sketch program that is in my appraisal software (WCA). It is okay, but I like Apex more, I am thinking about going back.

The major feature I would look for is being able to draw curves, odd angles, or half circles. Many sketch programs will not draw angles that are not 90 or 45 degrees. That is a problem for me as we have many round or odd shaped homes. I even looked at a Y shaped house a couple of weeks ago.

Area copy is a must for me. If I worked hard to draw the first floor of a weird shaped home, I want to click on an area copy feature to draw the second floor with out going through the hassle again.

Another feature I miss, and used a lot, is that you could do land areas from the meets and bounds off of a deed with Apex. It is common in my area to have a meets and bounds legal, and no recorded plat. I miss that feature the most.

Hopes this helps.

Mell.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Dreaming of a program that doesn't yet exist:

1. I WANT A REASONABLE SKETCH PROGRAM THAT WILL WORK ON MY PDA!
2. A stable program that autosaves to last movements if it crashes without destroying half an hours work!


other than that....

1. I prefer a keyboard based system: if I have to jump between mouse and keys I get irritated. Mice are fine for some fine tuning things, but combining doesn't work (well for me)!

2. Ability to clone areas, then edit is also a big issue. I want to be able to rotate, mirro/reverse, move a wall here or there without re-drawing the entire area. Add a bay window or small popout, etc. preferably without destabilizing the program.

3. ACCURATE jump to and auto-close features, if I want to draw a line to complete an area I don't want it to stop half a foot from the intended target!

4. Easily customizable text or icon menus: I may want to call my staircase something other than what the designer did, and having the memory save my modifications!~

5 Ability to draw split levels with upper, lower, basment, etc, and have the area names so appear on the summary.

Thus an incomplete list of primary cheers and jeers. You may email me for further input! I have many many more criteria!
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
I want one that allows you to insert a circle or an arc based on specific points, that will "measure to the inch," and that will allow you to determine wall lengths etc. It needs to "snap" to point to point.

Labels that are easy to edit and store.

It would be nice if you could tell it "interior," exterior," water" walls and add things like "siding," "brick," "field stone," and calculate wall thickness. Maybe some day I will try an architectural drafting program to see if it does it effectivly. If one does, it would be of tremendous benefit for estimating cost of construction and marteial takeoffs.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Amazing how tastes vary. I use Winsketch and find it adequate, Apex ditto. DCsketch is extremely complex and redundant keys in a DOS like screen do not impress me. Sketch-it was about the simplist and since I am "simple" myself, I like it. Too bad it has such poor support from the sellers.

What I want might be more what I want in any program.

I don't want it to try and anticipate what I will do. I can think for myself.
I want it to be genuinely WYSIWYG.
I want it to print correctly
I want to be able to copy a finished sketch, and paste the results in any other program. I do not want to have to save it to some intermediate format, especially into one that has low resolution (another annoyance of DCSketch). I find this the advantage of Winsketch.
Forget the "layers" B. S. and give me a SKETCH. If I want a 3-D flying Pig I will buy a 3-D flying Pig program.
I want my provider to TRUST ME. No more date and/or disk # lock codes. If my computer crashes and i move the software to the laptop or a new disk, I don't want to have to call support and BEG for a new unlocking code.
A version of sketcher that would have a survey mode would be nice.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
quote "very interested in hearing any disadvantages to DCSketch. I can't think of a single one. "

1 Complex
2 Redundant mixing MOUSE operated icons, KEYBOARD,and a MENU.
3 Will not allow copy and paste to word processor, must save as an intermediate file.
4 Copy to graphics are low resolution and "fuzzy" pix
5 slow
6 long learning curve...jeez the manual weighs 10 # at least
7 DOS like appearances without good WYSIWY
I bought DC, went back to Winsketch after a week
need I go on?
Terrel
 

Neil (Texas)

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
Hi JD,

Are you working on a sketcher for desktop/laptop or PDA? Quit using my PDA (early Casio.) because it lacked screen clarity. Have thought about latching onto one of the new Compaqs for use in the field but a good sketcher is a must. I just don't see how you can get a readable sketcher on the small screen... I still do it the old fashioned way (graph pad that I over-print with check boxes, etc. with interior wall placement, plumbing, etc.) Maybe have a scrolling feature?

I know if anyone can design it, you can. If so, sign me up.
 
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