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Ah, the eternal questions: are we alone in the universe, just who did let the dogs out, and will that free TV on the curb fit through my doorway? You’re on your own with the first two, but CaMeasure can help with the last one. It’s an app that lets you measure objects just by taking their pictures and then putting in a fair amount of work on your touchscreen. It’s not magic, but it gets the job done.
CaMeasure offers two modes for calculating an object’s size: Measure and Estimate. Measure is for furniture-sized objects and smaller. The trick is when you take the object’s picture, you’ll include in the shot an everyday reference item. You have three options: a credit card, CD jewel case, or a sheet of A4 paper, which is the European version of letter-size (yeah, this app comes from across the Pond). After taking the picture as dead-on as possible, you’ll resize and rotate an onscreen shape to fit over the reference object as closely as possible––its standardized dimensions help CaMeasure determine the size of your object.
When you’re done, a ruler appears over your picture. You position one end at the edge of the object you want to measure, then drag the slider inside it to the other edge (metric and U.S. standards are available). The accuracy of your measurements will vary depending on your photo and how accurately you size the reference item’s proxy shape, but it’s usually pretty close.
Estimate is for larger objects, like the landmarks you’ll shoot on your summer vacation. As with the Measure option, you’ll resize and rotate a reference object, but this time the object is virtual (your options are a child’s bike, a moped, and a VW bus). Resize the object until it looks appropriately sized beside the landmark in your photo, then apply the ruler to get your estimated measurement. Whichever way you measure, you can save a snapshot of your measurement or email it to data-happy friends when you’re finished.
The bottom line. Using CaMeasure requires almost as much effort as physically measuring something, and getting the dead-on shots it requires can be tricky (especially for large objects). But when a tape measure isn’t practical, it’s a fun and reasonably accurate way to calculate an object’s size on the fly.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later
It works, depending on your original photo. Two modes for measuring average and large objects. Intuitive interface.
Getting accurate results may take as much time as finding a tape measure.