Axis 3D Surveillance Design Tool

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 27, 2014

Want to layout your cameras in a 3D model showing how far, wide and at what angle they cover? Like so:

Axis has announced a free extension for a popular free 3D modeling software to do so.

IPVM has tested it out and found it useful for cameras generically, not just Axis. Inside this post, we share a video screencast review and analysis of this option.

Overview

There are two components of this: SketchUp and Axis Camera Extension for SketchUP. By itself, SketchUp has a global user base built during the time it was owned by Google and given away free. In recent years, Trimble has taken over ownership, but still maintains a free version that claims millions of downloads worldwide.

The major benefit to this offering is that it is a no cost CAD program with a no cost surveillance design module added.  While the depth of tools and features is not as powerful as JVSG or CCTV CAD, it does offer some useful features.

In the video below, we give a short overview of Axis' new Camera Extension plugin for SketchUp:

Recapping the key findings of our walkthrough: 

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

  • Not Just Axis: While the tool is 'Axis-centric' and includes the full portfolio of Axis cameras and mounts, they included a 'generic' option that allows you to customize any box or dome camera regardless of manufacturer. The fields of view adjust according to the cameras details plugged in and the resulting coverage map is useful no matter whose gear is specified.
  • Sketchup Buildings Required: A key disadvantage for many users will be the need to create a base building model in SketchUp before placing cameras. Existing models can be exported from other CAD systems, or might even be available in the public domain, but otherwise need to be created beforehand.
  • Not Clunky: Usually freeware is half-baked or becomes unstable when heavily taxed. The Axis tool/SketchUp combo showed no signs of crashing or even slowing down even after we dropped 50+ cameras over three separate buildings in the same instance. The platform ran well on our standard laptop and did not need a special graphics card or hardware to be useful.
  • Novice Friendly: SketchUp and the Axis plugin are easy to pick up for non-draftsman. No prior CAD knowledge is needed to use either tool, and even a designer with no experience can hit up sample YouTube videos that will get them up to speed in just a few hours.

Drawbacks

However, those benefits may not be enough to dethrone full-cost design tools:

  • Nonstandard Filetypes: While SketchUp is a big thing with hobbyists, education, and small business crowd, it is not a mainstream CAD platform used in mainstream architectural and engineering groups. Even if building models are available, they might not be exportable in the '.skb' format needed by SketchUp, nor are the resulting models in the free version of SketchUp importable in most CAD programs.
  • More Details, More Time: The old saying 'garbage in, garbage out' applies to CAD models, and even travels a step further - models are not useful unless they have sufficient detail. Even experienced operators need time to develop the details that might affect camera placement or FoV planning. The simple omission of details like landscaping, facades, or window/door placement can ruin the utility of this solution.
  • No 'Backend' Details: Another drawback of the free solution is the lack of network design or server specification tools. Unlike 'for fee' software that often include generic bandwidth and storage calculators and even ethernet design tools, Axis' plugin for SketchUp does not include anything for backend design. 

Other Offerings / Options

Besides the aforementioned commercial surveillance specific options JVSG or CCTV CAD, there are also:

While many software options exist, using them require differing degrees of training and experience and range in cost from less than one hundred to thousands of dollars. 

 

Comments (4) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Avigilon "Self-Learning" Analytics And VMD Tested on Jul 23, 2018
Avigilon is a popular choice for video analytics, offering "self-learning" analytics built into their cameras as well as appliances. We tested...
70+ New Products Directory Spring 2018 on Apr 02, 2018
We have compiled a list of new products for Spring 2018 in the categories: Video Surveillance Access Control Fire and Intrusion Other...
Directory Of 120 Video Management Software (VMS) Suppliers on Aug 30, 2018
This directory provides a list of Video Management Software providers to help you see and research what options are available. Listing...
RealNetworks Free School Facial Recognition on Aug 03, 2018
The company that created RealPlayer is moving beyond media delivery and into the security space with a new facial recognition platform they have...
Camera Height / Blind Spot Added to IPVM Camera Calculator on Oct 18, 2018
IPVM has added camera height and blind spot estimation to the Camera Calculator. This is especially helpful for those who need to mount cameras up...
Axis Camera Optimization App (UI Me) Tested on Aug 28, 2017
A new Axis camera app (ACAP) called UI Me has been released, offering a number of interesting features including optimization wizards and...
SimpliSafe Camera Tested on Mar 07, 2017
SimpliSafe is one of the most controversial companies in the industry, as they have become the symbol of the DIY threat to traditional alarm...
Axis Adds LPR - License Plate Verifier Examined on Jul 24, 2018
Axis is finally releasing their own License Plate Recognition software application called License Place Verifier, but it has some significant...
IPVM Opens 12,000 Sqft Testing Facility on Dec 16, 2019
IPVM is proud to announce the opening of the world's first video surveillance testing facility that will allow us to significantly expand our...
Disney Developing Re-Identification Analytics on Oct 27, 2017
When most people think of Disney, they probably think of cartoon characters or maybe innovative theme park rides and RFID bracelets. But Disney...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Startup Duranc Presents AI VSaaS on Jul 06, 2020
Duranc presented its system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Duranc including IPVM Q&A Background on the...
Low Voltage Nation Wants to "Help You Carve Out A Fulfilling Career" Interviewed on Jul 06, 2020
It is difficult to make your way in this industry as there is little formal schooling. However, one person, Blake Urmos, the Founder of Low Voltage...
The Next Hot Fever Detection Trend - $100 Wall-Mounted Units on Jul 06, 2020
The first wave of the booming fever detecting market was $10,000+ cameras, now interest for ~$2,000 tablets is high and the next big thing may be...
Cisco Meraki Unlocks IP Cameras With RTSP Tested on Jul 06, 2020
Meraki opened up its cameras to 3rd party NVRs/VMSes by offering RTSP streaming because of "the need to solve a business problem". We tested...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI Face Recognition on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI face recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...
Uniview Wrist Temperature Reader Tested on Jul 02, 2020
Uniview is promoting measuring wrist temperatures whereas most others are just offering forehead or inner canthus measurements. But how well does...
Dahua USA Admits Thermal Solutions "Qualify As Medical Devices" on Jul 02, 2020
Dahua USA has issued a press release admitting a controversial point in the industry but an obvious one to the US FDA, that the thermal temperature...
Access Control Online Show - July 2020 - With 40+ Manufacturers - Register Now on Jul 01, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our July 2020 Access Control Show. With 40+ companies presenting across 4 days, this is a unique opportunity to hear...