Measuring Wheel

How long is this block?  Measuring wheels are one of the most important tools for urban designers. I found that these small compact type of wheels are easy to carry in luggage, and are not a problem with TSA. I also like the compact size when I am in the field. Larger wheels are more accurate for true survey work, but you will be stopped by inquisitive residents. The small size can quickly be put to use, and then collapsed back to pocket size.

Here are a few of my tricks when I use the measuring wheel.

1. Check your wheel before you go out into the field. Make sure that everything works before you leave the office.

2. Practice. The wheel is helpful in measuring large anti-pedestrian roads. You will be risking a lot (possibly life and limb) when you cross the street, so make sure you are comfortable measuring. The small wheel may jump or skip when you hit gravel or sand, so learn how to adapt.

3. Plan your attack and think first. Cities are ever changing and active places. You will never be able to mark a straight line on the street. Plan where you want to go and make sure that there is not pot hole in your path, or a parked car that blocks you way. These things will come up, so plan how you will measure around these.

4. Photograph yourself measuring. Believe it or not, but some people just do not believe the facts. They may disagree with your observations, or suggest that you did not really measure the streets. A photograph in action not only counters this attack, it makes a great image for the report.

5. Photograph the street or block measured with your wheel measurement in the shot. This will help you to remember the street and measurement. These types of images help once you get back into the office.

6. Make it look easy. Yes, make this look easy. You will be dodging traffic, circling around pedestrians, and climbing over urban wreckage. If you make it look hard, your client will never let you out in the city again. Take every measurement in stride with a smile. You will create enthusiasm for measuring.


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