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ray isaacs

heliodon accuarcy

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hi. we have been using the heliodon as a design tool for years. we are now itching to use it to generate the shadows for our formal shadow studies, which need to be defendable against complaints (usually from project's neighbors).

does anyone know of any tests or documentation that show the accuracy of the heliodon?

cheers,

ray

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Hi Ray, I have used the Heliodon on every project since it was introduced (thanks Julian!!). I know from personal observation that it is as close to "dead-on" as I would ever need. While my evidence is purely anecdotal, there have been a number of projects where I went back later and visually compared the actual shadows (on a given day at a given time) and thought to myself, "Wow, this is really really accurate".

I have no actual testing data, but it wouldn't hard to do. Find an already existing building (or buildings); get the data (including accurate lat/long, topog and elevational data); model it up in VW's; set a Heliodon in the file and create some renderings. Then, on a sunny day, go take some photos and compare them to the rendered images. If you did this for three or four existing sites I would think this would be seen as valid scientific proof. You might want to get the "authorities" in on the game early so that they could sponsor (or at least not squash) your testing.

Interesting side note: the city where I live has a Solar Setback Ordinance (since the 1980's!!). Their way of working it is formula based (and not a lot of fun to calculate). I have used the Heliodon a number of times to prove (or verify) the formulaic results. The City has always been impressed, as they still have no way to generate these kinds of visual (proof is in the pudding) results. Also, any whining neighbor would be forced to produce their own data, right? Except for after-the-fact photos, how would they do that? Perhaps there should be a small disclaimer that the "data is accurate to within X amount"??

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I'd like to hear someones from NNA's take on this as I imagine it will soon be all the more relevant once the energy modeling tool comes in 2016 version.

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While I cannot say I've done scientific testing, I do use it in all of my CameraMatch renderings. When the exact location and date & time ( from the photo) are entered, the shadows always match up the the photo perfectly.

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I have only ever come across one report of its inaccuracy, but this was only in the Spanish language localized version and only when the location selected was within a particular area within South America. This has been resolved. (I think as of 2015 SP2?)

As of Vectorworks 2015 I am unaware of any certifications or official approval of the accuracy of the Heliodon tool, however I will check. I may be able to better answer after Vectorworks 2016 is released as the Heliodon is indeed integral to the upcoming Energos tool as mentioned above.

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