Cool Tools # 4

It’s a double whammy this week, with a new blog post and the return of Cool Tools.

This week we’re looking at Map Frappe ( This is an awesome tool that allows you to easily compare the size of two areas.

This is not a tool I use all that often, but it’s amazing when needed. Basically, at some point you’ll find yourself asking, “how big is _____ compared to _____?” For example, if you’re proposing a new community park, you (or a client) may want to see how it compares in size to a nearby park, or Millennium Park in Chicago, or if you really want your park to look tiny, Central Park in New York. With Map Frappe, you can simply trace one park, and have the outline appear on a map below where you can compare it to anything you want.

Give it a try. This is Planning Geekiness at its finest!



Cool Tools # 3: Text Fixer(s)

As a Planner, you’ll be quoting a lot of policy documents, which means lots of copying and pasting from PDFs. Unfortunately, copying from a PDF often breaks up each line when pasted into another program (i.e. Word or InDesign). I know when someone in the office is doing this, because you here the same key pattern over and over:

down, home, backspace, backspace… down, home, backspace, backspace… down, home, backspace, backspace…

Luckily there’s a solution. Try copying your text into the box here and letting do the work for you. If you don’t want to use a webpage, download AutoUnbreak (a light windows plugin) and create a shortcut on your taskbar (that’s how I roll).

Obviously this is unnecessary if you’re copying a couple of lines, but can save a significant amount of time if you’re pasting a lot of text.

Cool Tools # 1

Another day, another new Planforth section. Cool Tools won’t be weekly, but should be updated pretty often. The goal is to introduce some of the really useful (and free) programs, websites, etc. that I use on a regular basis (or occasionally, but are a life saver when needed). Hopefully they’ll be useful for you as well, and let me know if you have any suggestions that I should check out.

First up: Google Earth Pro.

Continue reading