Review – I have always liked to see construction workers measuring the distances of various forms they build with pulleys. They will turn from one point to another, and make a mark on the notebook at each stop point. I used to think it would be cool if there was a device that could measure distance and record it in an app on the phone. Well, the Plott Carta mapper has fulfilled my wish. This device connects to your phone and records the distance to the app. Let’s see how effective it is in real life.
what is it?
Plott Carta Mapper is a Bluetooth-enabled measurement device created by Plott Inc. that can be connected to an application on your mobile phone. When you walk, it measures the distance and creates a measurement point at each location you mark in the app along the way. After you have measured your area, it can provide you with the total square feet of the area and the distance of each segment.
What’s in the box?
The Plott Carta mapper comes in a very beautiful box, as shown below.
When you open it on the side with the handle, you will see a foam that you can pull out. When you lift the top cover, you will see Carta Plott. There are the following items in the box.
- A Plott Carta mapping wheel with bracket
- A set of three A batteries
- Below the wheels is a handle with a phone holder
- Hand letter
- Accuracy +/- .2%
- The smallest unit displayed-.01M or 0.03 feet
- Battery life-about 18 hours
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Application operating system IO and Android 5.0
- Dimensions 4 x1.4 x 3.6 feet
- Weight 58 oz
- Storage temperature range -4 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit
- Operating temperature range – 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
Design and features
The Plott Carta mapper is essentially two separate parts. As shown in the figure below, the main wheel is used to fix the battery, Bluetooth connector and bracket. In this picture, to the right of the word PLOTT, you can see a black circle with TT. You press that circle, which will turn TT into blue to turn on Bluetooth.
This is the picture on the back of the wheel. You can see the battery compartment. You can use a standard screwdriver to turn it 90 degrees to open the compartment.
This is a picture of the handle. At the bottom is a flange for tightening the handle on the wheel. There is a lever near the bottom of the handle, you can flip it up to extend the handle. At the top of the handle, a phone holder is connected.
This is a photo of the handle mounted on the Plott Carta mapper wheel, the handle extends to its full height.
This is a photo of the steering wheel with Bluetooth turned on, and you can see how it indicates that Bluetooth is active.
I installed my husband’s iPhone 11 pro (not the largest), so you can see how the stand fixes the phone. By default, the stand is in vertical format.
You can rotate the phone holder to enable it to keep the phone in a horizontal position.
Next, we enter the application and set it up. I downloaded the Plott-Creativity app from Plott, Inc. to my iPhone 11 Pro.
In the Plott Carta mapper application, there are some settings.
In the device section, you can pair the app with Carta via Bluetooth by checking the box next to the device.
There are also some settings to keep the screen always on instead of overtime, and one for opening video tutorials. I initially turned on the video option, but it quickly became annoying, so I turned it off.
In the measurement section, you can choose how you want the measurement results to be displayed in the application. I chose feet and inches.
Now we have entered the focus of the comment, which is also one of my main sticking points. Other comments I saw on the Plott Carta mapper complained about poor execution of the application. I think those people don’t know what they are doing, nor are they as technically savvy as I am. Well, I am sorry to say that I was wrong. There are still many shortcomings in the functionality of the application. We are currently building a new home. On the side of our garage, I want the builder to build a concrete walkway around the garage and a landing pad behind the garage where I will store my trash can. I decided to use Carta to calculate how many square feet of cement we might need to build that structure.
The first thing I did was click the “Let’s Draw” button in the bottom middle of the screen. I saw the pop-up window below in which I entered my project name.
When I clicked Finish, someone asked me which device I wanted to use. I find this strange because I have paired Carta with the app and it is the only paired device. Plott also manufactured a tape measure device. I chose Carta.
Since then, I have received a pop-up window asking me if Plott can use my location, and then I selected “Allow when using the app”.
Finally, I saw the following screen.
I press and start scrolling. Like another reviewer, I noticed that I need to be a few inches away from where I want to start drawing, because the wheels are not registered in the app until I scroll a bit. Please forgive the bad lines below. This is a construction site with big rocks and a main slope. I didn’t realize that more cement was needed to build the sidewalk I wanted. My starting point is the red dot. I walked forward five feet and pressed Mark. Then I turned to the left, walked along the side of the garage, and walked to an overhanging board to pour another foundation next door. I had to press the mark button, climb across the board, and start scrolling again. As I approached my initial starting point, the color of the plot changed, letting me know that I was back to my starting point. It really found my starting point very accurately. I have no problems with app freezing or similar issues.
The app states that you can take a picture and use it as a background. To be honest, unless you have a drone and adjust its size appropriately, I really don’t see how many people can use the background feature. Even if a straight sidewalk is created along the house, it is difficult to take pictures from a standing position. The plot created has no meaning in that type of picture. Having said that, I did not use the background image function.
You can see that I have a path in this chart. You can create multiple paths on a single chart. I also renamed this project from test to Garage sidewalk. You can get the path to display by clicking the three lines in the blue box near the top of the screen. Clicking on the path name below will put you into boot mode. If you need to mark certain points on the path with stakes, etc., this allows you to retrace your steps. I found the boot mode to be very accurate. The problem I have is reaching the point where the measured value is displayed. Sometimes I find that clicking on these three lines will make the path pop up. Then I found that clicking on these three lines will enter the measurement page, where you can click the path and view the measurement results.
This is the measurement page for path one. Even though I’m talking about feet and inches, you can see that it displays the value in feet. I am also disappointed with the way the distance is displayed on the chart. What is the distance from the point in the upper left corner to the point in the lower left corner?
This is another test example I conducted on the open floor of my house. This is a simple square, it is easier to read.
I pulled out my garage sidewalk map again to show you how to trace your steps. Once your plot opens, you press the start button below. At this point, if you open the video, you will get a time-consuming video on how the backtracking plot works.
what do I like
- There is no need to write down the measured values manually. The Plott Carta mapper app does it for you.
- Very fast and painless Bluetooth connection
Areas for improvement
- Measurement shows terrible
- The wheel does not start measuring until the first few inches.
- The application itself is very bulky and difficult to use.
- There are no manuals or instructions on how to use the application. This is very frustrating.
Later I discovered that the “S” button in the upper left corner of any drawing would tell the application to allow the use of curves. If you set it to a straight line, it will only draw straight lines. I think this is convenient, but I don’t know how accurate the measurement will be by forcing a straight line. I like the concept of the Plott Carta mapper. I hope it is more user-friendly. This will be a device used as a rough estimator, but I would never use it for real construction work.