IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide

By: IPVM Team, Published on Oct 16, 2019

Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos demonstrating and explaining the Calculator's features. It will be updated periodically and you can ask questions or request new sections added in the comments.

Setting Up Your Project

IPVM Image

Configuring Cameras and Views

Managing Projects

Calculator Troubleshooting

Calculator Introduction

Tutorial Video

The tutorial video below overviews the calculator:

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Setting Up Your Project

Changing / Setting Location

Click on "Change Location" and enter the desired address or landmark then press enter. This is shown below, searching and navigating to Bethlehem, PA:

Automatic Project Naming

The calculator will automatically update a new project from the default name "New Project" when the first camera is added. It will change the project name to the closest mappable street address:

Selecting Map vs Satellite vs Blank Display

The Camera Calculator has three canvases to select from: Map, Satellite, and Blank. These are options are located in the lower left corner of the canvas.

Adding / Scaling Floor Plans

Floor plans are added at the top center of the calculator. The Add Floor Plan menu will confirm that the floorplan is a supported file format (JPG, BMP, PNG, PDF) and size.

Once the floorplan is uploaded, the right side control panel will change to scale the floorplan. Manually move the 2 ends of the green measurement tool on the floorplan, enter the distance, and click the Scale Floor Plan button.

Rotating Floor Plans

The floor plans can be rotated to align the building. Move the cursor to the edge of the floor plan and click the arrow appears, then drag to rotate and release when in position.

Uploading & Rotating Satellite Images as a Floor Plan

The Calculator map cannot be rotated, but a screenshot can be imported and rotated to achieve a similar result.

Locking Floor Plans

After a floor plan has been added and positioned, it should be locked so that it will not be moved. Just right click the floor plan and select lock floor plan.

Maximum Zoom Limits

There is a zoom limitation in the Google Maps API when in the satellite view. That limit varies depending on the imagery in any specific area. In most countries, major cities have much higher quality images and zoom capabiliies than in rural areas. You can use a separate image as a floor plan (see: Uploading & Rotating Satellite Images as a Floor Plan), and using the Map or Blank background. In the lower right-hand corner on the below animation, you can see the zoom/scale limits by the red arrow. In this area, the closest Satellite scale is 5m, 2m for Map view, and significantly smaller for Blank.

Camera and Design Configuration

Adding Cameras

New cameras can be added to a project in 2 ways

  1. Clicking the Add Camera Button
  2. Right Clicking on the map and selecting "+ Add Camera Here"

Positioning Cameras

Cameras can be dragged to the desired location, and then positioned / aimed by dragging the subject at the edge of the Coverage Cone as shown below.

Setting Measurement System (Imperial vs Metric)

The measurement system will be automatically set to Imperial if your login is detected from with the US, and Metric if outside of the US. To toggle between Imperial and Metric Units, click the drop down menu and select the Unit type you need. The Calculator will remember your selection the next time you log in.

Setting Camera Latitude and Longitude

Lattitude and Longitude coordinates can be edited on the lower right side control panel of the Camera Calculator.

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Selecting Specific Camera Models

Change from a generic camera to a specific model (out of 10,000+ models) by clicking on "Select Model" and then either browse or search for the desired model.

Your search can be filtered by:

  • Brand (160+ Manufacturers)
  • Resolution
  • Form Factor
  • IR Range
  • Field of View

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Using Favorite Cameras

Many system designers have favorite camera models that they use repeatedly on projects. Rather than scan through all the 9,000+ models, you can now mark which ones are your favorites and they will be displayed at the top of the list for easy selection:

How to Request a New Camera Model (If Not In Specific Models)

If there is a specific camera model not in our database of choices, click on the "Want us to add a missing camera? Let us Know" Link. It will open a new browser tab where you can request the manufacturer and model you need added. This is usually completed within 1 business day.

Show End-Of-Life Camera Models

To show cameras that are End-Of-Life, when in the camera model selector menu, click the "Show EOL Cameras" at the top-middle of the menu:

End-Of-Life camera models are listed with a red EOL icon and will remain hidden by default with each new project, unless enabled.

However, if you search for an EOL model, the camera will be included with the search results, even with the "Show EOL Camera" disabled:

IR Display Line

If you add a specific camera model that has integrated IR, the Calculator will display a red line the distance that the IR is effective.

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Using Simulated Person (PPF / PPM)

The Camera Calculator automatically displays example images (daytime, dark with IR, dark without IR, and super low light) that load automatically based on the selected camera's details. For a more detailed look at this, see our guide on PPF/PPM.

Naming Cameras

There are 3 ways to change the name of a camera:

  1. As soon as you add a camera, you can immediately type in the name of the camera
  2. Right click the camera, select rename and enter the new name and hit Enter
  3. Left click on the camera that you want to rename and then in the name text box to the right enter the new name

Changing Camera Coverage Cone Color

You can change the color of the camera and coverage cone by clicking on the paint can icon to the right of the camera name, and selecting between the 6 color options. Blue is the default color, but duplicated cameras will keep the color selection of the original camera:

Toggling IR Range Display

The manufacturer's specified IR Range is shown by default in the Camera Calculator. You can toggle this by using the control on the right side of the screen in the Advanced: Lens, IR panel:

Adjusting and Locking Cameras

The distance and direction of the camera can be adjusted by clicking and the subject at the edge of the Coverage Cone. The Field of View (FoV) width can be adjusted by clicking and dragging a corner of the Coverage Cone. The camera can be locked by right clicking and selecting lock camera.

Deleting Cameras

There are 2 ways to delete a camera from your project

  1. Right Click on the Camera and Select "Delete Camera". If you choose this method, the system will not prompt you if you are sure.
  2. Click on the Trash icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen while you have the camera selected

Duplicating Cameras

When working on a project with multiple cameras the same model it can save time to duplicate a camera. Right Click on the camera you wish to duplicate and Left Click "Duplicate Camera"

Simulating Repositionable Multi-imager Cameras

The Calculator does not currently support repositionable multi-imager cameras (e.g. Avigilon 9W-H3-3MH, Axis P3707-PE, etc), it will only place 1 camera on the map, not 4. The quickest way to have the remaining 3 cameras on the map is to duplicate the original camera 3 times:

When using multi-imager cameras, keep names consistent by naming them <Camera Name> N.1,( N.2, N.3, etc) will help your projects stay organized in your exports.

PDF Export Results:

Switching Between Cameras, Labels and Floorplans

Use the All Projects to quickly switch between cameras, labels and floorplans in your project:

Adding Markup Shapes

There are several markups that can be added to projects: circles, polygons, poly lines, rectangles, labels, and color coding.

Using Polyline as a Ruler

The Polyline tool will display the total length of the line when you draw it and have it highlighted. To use it like a ruler, select the Polyline tool, click where you want to start your measurement, and then click twice where you want to measure. The Calculator will display the length in feet or meters.

The Calculator does not support a multi-segment line, just a single line.

Adding Labels

On the top right of the canvas there is a label button. Click the button and the label is created in the middle of the workspace. You can then click and hold to drag the label to another location or double click to edit the label.

Changing Label Text Size

Label text sizes can be increased and decreased using the Size slider control on the right side label control panel:

Duplicating Labels

When working on a project with multiple labels with similar text, it is quicker to duplicate the label and update in the right side control panel. Right Click on the label you wish to duplicate and Left Click "Duplicate Label"

Changing Label Color

You can change the color of the label text and fill by clicking on the icons below the Size slider, and selecting between the 9 color options:

Using Simulated View (Google Streetview)

Using Google Streetview, the Calculator provides panoramic street views for many locations. Additionally, several Scenes have been added for parking lots, conference rooms, entrances, hallways, and more.

Adding / Using Your Own Simulated View

Images of the site can be uploaded if you want a view of what the camera will be seeing when installed (using a picture taken at the install location). You can select the image and give it a name. The Uploaded Scene is per camera. You will also need to set the Angle of View of the picture. If taken with a cellphone, the average FoV is between 50-70 degrees, so move the slider below 90, but not more than halfway to 0.

Calculating Lens Requirements using Advanced Settings

The Camera Calculator can be used to calculate the required lens length by clicking on the Gear for Advanced Settings. By adjusting the Width of FoV and the size of the image sensor, it will return the length of lens required in millimeters.

Simulating (Wireless) Network Links

Use the polyline tool along with the label markup tool to show a wireless or fiber network link to a camera:

Simulating Radar Sensor Coverage Areas

Radar Sensors like the Axis D2050-VE have a coverage area that is different to the coverage cone of a camera. You can use 2 generic cameras and the polyshape tool to simulate the coverage.

First place a 180 Degree Generic Camera, a 120 Degree Generic Camera onto the map where the Radar detector will be located, and set the distance of coverage to 50m (or the distance of coverage for another detector):

This overlap area is the coverage zone of the camera. Use the polyshape tool to draw the coverage zone of the detector:

You can now delete the 2 generic cameras. You can also change the color of the coverage area, and add a label if you want:

Enabling Blind Spots on Map

The Blind Spot panel is located below the Simulated Person panel on the right-hand side of the Calculator:

IPVM Image

To toggle on Blind Spots for all cameras, click the "Show camera blind spot"

Blind spots are not shown by default.

Setting Camera Height and Tilt

To set the camera height and down tilt, open the Blind Spot panel below the Simulated Person panel on the right-hand side of the Calculator.

Manually type the camera height in the input box labeled "Camera Height" or use the up/down arrow keys to incrementally adjust:

The default camera height is set to 10 feet or ~3 meters. Scene height (top of the camera field of view) is also set to 10 feet by default.

Scene height and tilt can also be manually entered or use the up/down arrows to incrementally adjust. Negative Tilt values represent a downward angle for the camera field of view. A tilt of zero degrees means the top of the field of view is parallel to the horizon.

Managing Projects

Renaming Projects

To rename a project click on the current project name, when the field becomes editable type the new name.

Opening Projects

Existing projects can be opened clicking on "Open Projects" at the top center of the canvas.

Cloning Projects

To make an exact copy of a project (i.e. to create 2 similar designs with optional cameras), click the Clone button:

IPVM Image

Exporting Projects

The Calculator can export to PDF, PowerPoint, Word, Snapshot, ZIP, and CSV. The export feature is located at the top middle of the Calculator. To export your project click the Export button and select the file option you are looking for:

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Exports can be opened or saved in your Downloads folder.

Below we cover the different types of exports.

Exporting a project to PDF

To export your project via PDF click the Export button and select PDF. Once your project is exported to PDF you will have both an overview of the project along with a breakdown of each camera used. This format shows 2 cameras per page but, does not allow for easy edits:

Exporting a Project to Powerpoint (PPT)

To export your project to PPT format click the Export button and select Powerpoint. Your file with start with the project title, camera count, and date exported. The following slides list one camera per page. Powerpoint format allows for easier edits and is more appropriate for presentations:

Exporting a project to a Word Document (Docx)

To export your project to Word Document click the Export button and select Word Doc. This format opens with Microsoft Word and starts with an overview of the project and continues with a breakdown of each camera used. This format shows 2 cameras per page and allows for easy editing.

Exporting a Snapshot

To export your project to a Snapshot click the Export button and select Snapshot. A Snapshot is a quick look at your current screen similar to a screenshot and includes the Simulated View and Person Panels. It will only display the current camera and specifications selected in your project:

IPVM Image

Exporting a project to a ZIP

To export your project to ZIP file click the Export button and select ZIP. This export consists of an overview picture and each camera as its own JPG. After opening you can extract all of the pictures to your computer or select individual cameras:

Exporting a project to CSV file for use with Excel

To export your project to CSV format click the Export button and select CSV. Exporting your project to a CSV format allows for a simple list of the cameras used in your project along with your set specifications:

IPVM Image

This format allows you to add installation details like IP address, serial number or what server it is connected to.

Sharing Projects via Permalinks

Permalinks are used to share projects. It will provide the recipient with a replica of the original.

Deleting Projects

To delete a Project, click on the "All Projects" button, and then click on the "Trash Can" next to the project Date. The system will prompt you to confirm the deletion.

Calculator Appendix and Troubleshooting

Supported Browsers

The Camera Calculator can run in most browsers without any issues, but there are version requirements:

  • Firefox 29+ (Including Firefox OS and Firefox for Android)
  • Chrome 30+
  • Safari 5+
  • Internet Explorer 10+
  • Opera 21+
  • Android 4.0+
  • iOS 7.1+
  • Windows Phone 8+

Calculator Doesn't Load - Clearing Browser Cache

If the Calculator page does not completely load in the browser, this can be caused by excess temporary files being held in your browser cache. To fix this problem, try clearing your browser cache, and relaunch the Camera Calculator.

Here are the instructions for clearing browser cache in the most common web browsers:

Calculator Doesn't Load - Check Network Connection

The Camera Calculator can be blocked by a company firewall if the following 2 sites are blocked. If you can load the Calculator from your home network, but not at work, check with your IT department:

  • https://ipvm.com - Check login credentials for permissions
  • https://e7164728-9328-4911-8cf0-7607d6d34ef5-bluemix.cloudant.com/ - where the Calculator is hosted

Using Manufacturer Specific Links

The standard IPVM calculator's URL is calculator.ipvm.com, now, each manufacturer has their name appended to that link. The full list of manufacturers is located below (Manufacturer Specific Links).

When one enters a manufacturer-customized URL, it shows that manufacturer's name:

IPVM Image

When the user picks models, it displays the number of models available:

IPVM Image

Then the user can select among that manufacturer's models:

IPVM Image

Also, you can still see all camera models in the IPVM calculator by clicking on the 'Show Other Manufacturers' link.

List of Manufacturer Specific Links

The full list of manufacturer specific Camera Calculator Links:

Is there still a feature or function of the Camera Calculator that you would like more details on? Post your comment or question on our Dedicated Discussion Post, or email info@ipvm.com

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Comments (46)

Only IPVM Members may comment. Login or Join.

 Any additions, or issues with the guide please comment here or email me at sean@ipvm.com

Also, general Calculator questions can still be posted, or review other "FAQ" type questions in the Discussion Post

Updated Projects Section with Cloning Project instructions.

Updated Adding / Using Your Own Simulated View instructions

Added a section on using the polyline and label tools for Simulating Network Links

Added a section on Simulating Radar Detectors like the Axis D2050-VE

Added a section about Using Polyline as a Ruler.

Is there a way to export just a floorplan with camera locations and coverages, rather than including the camera details? Looking for an overview of a single building. Also, is there a way to select the area to export? When I zoom out and export to JPG, it's a bit small. When I zoom in the next increment, it doesn't get the whole building. I can work-around using Snipping Tool or screenshot, but would be nice to keep as much resolution as possible.

And when I export the whole project to PDF or DOC, the blueprint on the first page is only covering about 20% of the page, lots of white space.

Thanks!

Kathleen,

Currently the first exported image is the overview of the entire project. If you have multiple floor plans or buildings, your best option is to create different projects for each building.

In regards to the export, if you export as a DOC, you can reformat the page to Landscape instead of portrait to have the blueprint cover more of the page. As an integrator I prefered the PPT export because it is formatted landscape by default.

We are looking into different additional options when exporting, but I do not have any specific details

Thanks,

Sean

Added a Section about Maximum Zoom Limits

useful and informative article. 

Keep up the good work IPVM.

Some suggestions -

It would be great to be able to rotate the google earth image - just to line up the building (I did this with Google Earth).  

The measurement tools and labeling could use some tweaking - but overall this is much faster than doing it manually.  

Having the camera models and is great - selecting what shows up on the pdf export would be cool, example I might not want the preview images but like the camera model and specifications.  

Thanks Undisclosed 2, those are all good suggestions, in fact we are going to be definitely addressing 2 of the 3 suggestions.

The measurement tools have limits of only displaying in metric, and not displaying the length of multi-segment lines (only single segment lines). Is there another limitation you have identified?

The camera model on the PDF report and not just the CSV report has been requested and will be updated.

Rotating the map, unfortunately, is a much more difficult development issue, because of having to keep points of reference for all of the cameras and where they are facing. Our recommended process for this is to take a screenshot in Google Earth and then importing it as a floor plan. We have a section above this Calculator Guide (Uploading & Rotating Satellite Images as a Floor Plan) that covers this.

There is a new Troubleshooting section to the Guide, starting out with the Supported Browser (minimum versions).

We will be adding common troubleshooting steps like clearing browser cache, confirming open ports/firewall blocking, etc.

Updated to add details about Manufacturer Specific Links, and other minor updates to existing sections about Using Labels, and Saving Projects.

Hello IPVM,

I have been working with the camera calculator for a couple of week and have a project that needs to be exported. I have used all of the export formats but for some reason I can not get a good print out of my project. The floor plan overview is to small to be used. I am enclosing the link to my project. Can anyone print the floor plan out so that it covers the whole page? This is the link  https://ipvm.com/calculator/g6Qslw

Thanks

I have an issue with a specific project and every time i try to export it it goes to about 25% and says export failed. It seems to be related to that specific part of the satellite map area since I tried starting from scratch with new projects and I get the same result even with only one camera on it. I have another project a block or so away and it works fine. Are you aware of any bugs related to this? 

We are currently working on our project export process and appreciate the information. I sent you an email directly to get a copy of your project permalink.

This issue has been fixed, it was caused by an error from the Google API that was forcing the export process to stop, thanks for your patience.

Thanks IPVM team for the quick fix. Much appreciated. 

What is the best format to use when uploading floor plans to get decent quality in the calculator. I usually upload my floor plans as PDF files, but the quality I get in the calculator vary from usable to terrible. How can I optimize this?

The Calculator converts PDFs into an image file when creating a floorplan, so we see less variance when importing a JPEG snapshot of the floorplan versus a PDF. This is something we are having discussions internally about how to handle more efficiently.

When importing floorplans into the Calculator the DPI is set to 300.

Image files (JPG, BMP, etc) are auto-scaled to a minimum of 1200 pixels (vertical or horizontal) or a maximum of 5000 pixels.

That means if either side of the image is greater than 5000 pixels, we shrink the image until *one* side is below 5000 pixels (keeping the aspect ratio). If either side is less than 1200 pixels, we enlarge the image until that side is above 1200 pixels.

Using Favorite Cameras was added to the guide:

Many system designers have favorite camera models that they use repeatedly on projects. Rather than scan through all the 9,000+ models, you can now mark which ones are your favorites and they will be displayed at the top of the list for easy selection:

Hi

Is it possible to add location by specific coordinates: LAT, LON or Google Plus codes? It seems to work by location name only. 

Thanks in advance

Once you place the camera, go to the Location, Description, Notes Panel, and edit the Latitude and Longitude settings:

Is there a way to zoom in or zoom out the simulated person? For example at lower PPF (and greater distance), we may only need detection or observation. We will want to zoom out to see the simulated view of the whole body.

Thanks for your first comment!

There is not a way to change the zoom on the simulated person, however the Simulated view automatically follows the field of view/zoom settings of the camera.

I agree with your thoughts regarding the simulated view of the whole body, and I will add that to our feature request list. We will investigate how to implement that from a user interface standpoint.

This is great! Thank you.

Hi, Can we choose the height of the camera or is there a default set?

Wanted to know what the height of the cameras in the Calculator are set at, especially in outdoor environments.

I found the default camera height 10 feet correct? Thank you

The Height can be adjusted under the 'Blind Spot' tab, ie:

Is there a way to color code the cameras?

Example:  Blue cameras are brand new runs.  Orange are existing cameras to be replaced by new cameras but using existing cable.

Wouldn't that offend people that are colorblind?  /jk

 

Perhaps the HEX# or RGB values can be next to the camera?

This is on the feature roadmap for the Calculator. I don't have a specific timeline for the development, but it is something we will be adding.

The best current workaround I can suggest at this time is using the polyline tool to draw a box of whatever color you want around each camera "type":

Cool, thanks Sean.

New integrator here, so apologies in advance if this is a dumb question..

Is it possible in the Calculator to "draw walls" on a floor plan or even the satellite view in order to properly show the limits of where a camera is viewing?  It seems odd to me that we would show a customer their own floor plan with triangles indicating that they can see through a wall. In addition, the visualizations often show overlap that is not truly existing because there is physically a wall between two cameras.  The attached image shows an example of multiple camera "overlap" that does not truly exist in the real world.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions to help me "clean up" my diagrams!

Thanks for your first comment, Steve.

We appreciate the feedback and clear diagram explaining what you're requesting. Adding walls which will intersect and block the field of view is already noted on our new features roadmap.

Unfortunately, there is no clean workaround that I am aware of.

Sean, I know this is an old comment but it's the latest comment I've seen related to adding blocking lines/shapes to the maps so we can designate areas that are visible to the camera (being able to make a wall the camera can't see through).

You stated this was on the roadmap at the time of your comment - and I was curious if you had any insight into where this stands.

It's a feature that cleans the maps up so much and is so much easier to understand at a glance. Thanks.

It remains on our roadmap and is moving closer to the development phase now that our Phone Camera Calculator was released, and we are close to releasing true multi-imager support.

I still can't provide any specific timeline, but comes up as one of the next top priorities on our internal Calculator development calls.

I agree that it will be a significant visual design aid for integrators and end-users. Thank you for the feedback.

I am having trouble with uploaded images in the simulated view. The images will not consistently upload.  Sometimes it just spins until I hit escape.  The images that do upload will not stay in the simulated view window. When they are first uploaded they work fine. I can position them and they change depending on the parameters selected. At some point they stop working. I can see them in the thumbnails but it won't let me select and use them.  The images I am using are only .25MP.  The browser I am using is Chrome on Windows 10 Pro. Has anyone else had this issue?

Thank you for your first comment Sean, we do not have that specific issue of not being able to upload thumbnails documented. We will be emailing you shortly so we can connect and diagnose/capture the problem. 

Is it possible to change the units from feet to meters for the camera distance and width?

- Yes it is, found it myself ;)

#9, good to hear and sorry we did not respond sooner. Btw, the Calculator remembers a user's setting for feet/meters and if you are not geolocated in the US, it will default to meters.

Added Show End-of-Life Camera Models to the Guide

Show End-Of-Life Camera Models

To show cameras that are End-Of-Life, when in the camera model selector menu, click the "Show EOL Cameras" at the top-middle of the menu:

End-Of-Life camera models are listed with a red EOL icon and will remain hidden by default with each new project, unless enabled.

However, if you search for an EOL model, the camera will be included with the search results, even with the "Show EOL Camera" disabled:

The Project Export section of the guide has been expanded to explain the differences in each file format.

Feature request: Would like to be able to "hide" cameras to de-clutter the screen. Now that the calculator works so well on phones and tablets the map gets cluttered pretty quickly. If we could drop and configure a camera then hide it from the screen it would make it easier to see what we're doing on those small screens.

Is there any chance we can import & export AutoCAD files for floor plans and layouts. As part of our project, we need to deliver to customer CCTV layout in AutoCAD.

We have DWG import/export support on our request list but have only quickly looked at what it would take to implement.

The complication with DWG support is handling the individual model/drawing layers. We can reasonably "import" a DWG as a snapshot as a flat floorplan, but supporting camera, cabling and other layers are significantly more complicated.

Exports are the same problem. We can reasonably export as a DWG, as a flat single layer image, but we have not taken a long look at what it would take to generate a multi-layer/dynamic drawing. If we are exporting a flat DWG, it is not remarkably better than exporting as a PDF and converting to DWG, with any of the free converters available.

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