How big of a space can I scan?

The Short Answer

There is no specific limit on how big of a space you can scan, and a lot of factors affect how quickly memory is consumed during a scan (amount of detail in the space, scan technique, available RAM on your device, the device you are using, etc). If scanning multi-floor homes, we recommend scanning a maximum of 1 floor at a time. 

The Long Answer

LiDAR-enabled iPads (which include Pro models 2020 and newer) and iPhones (12 Pro and 12 Pro Max) will generally allow you to scan the largest areas at once, as the Canvas app allows you to walk around as you scan. In our testing, however, the RAM of the device will tend to max out at about one floor of a typical home, so large homes or multi-story homes will still require breaking up into multiple scans.

If you are using the Canvas iPhone app without LiDAR, the capture experience is optimized to scan a single room at a time, meaning you will need to scan room-by-room (or may require multiple scans per room). 

In general, the best results come from scanning 1 room at a time (closets and small add-on spaces included). If there are multiple scans, our Scan To CAD service can convert all of them and provide you a single, global file of the entire space. There is no extra charge for this, and you are billed by square footage regardless of the number of scans. For more information on merging scans or capturing entire homes, we recommend reading: Can I merge multiple scans to cover an entire property?

Scanning entire floors at one time is faster and more convenient (if you have a LiDAR-enabled iPad Pro), but can introduce more drift (distortion or bending in the scan), and can lead to mistakes (e.g., opening the door while you are scanning it) which lead to worse accuracy in your final results. 

Important: Canvas is optimized for residential-sized spaces. As you take Canvas into larger commercial and industrial environments, you may run into different limitations, which you can learn more about here: I want to scan non-residential spaces. Will Canvas work outside the home?

So, what counts as a room?

A common question that arises from this is, "Well, what counts as a room?" In most cases, it is how you'd think about it as a homeowner: the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, etc. However, Canvas does not require you to be extremely strict about this, and it is ultimately up to you how to break up a property into multiple scans.

For example, you can scan a walk-in closet in the same scan as its bedroom without issue, or even capture small bathrooms connected to a hallway. Staircases aren't really a "room" but can often be scanned with the contiguous hallways or open spaces. At the same time, if a room is very large (but still residential-scale, like a big open living room, or a large basement), you may need to break the room into two or more scans (don't worry, if you are using Scan To CAD we can merge it for you later). Generally speaking, though, any Canvas-compatible device with 2GB of RAM or higher should be able to, on average, handle most residential-sized rooms in one scan.

The three most important things are that you: 

  • Capture all sections of the home that you expect to show up in your CAD model somewhere in your individual scans
  • Scan through connecting areas (like doorways) into the adjacent space (if you do intend to merge it with other scans)
  • Avoid zig-zagging in and out of many rooms in a row within a single scan

Help! I keep getting a low memory warning when I scan!

If you have read the above and are still getting this warning when you think you shouldn't be (i.e., you are running out of memory before you can capture a typical residential room, and you have already optimized your scanning with the tips above), please read  Help! Canvas keeps telling me that I'm running out of memory.