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Looking for surfaces on OpenStudio, Inspector Tool

asked 2014-10-22 16:14:08 -0500

updated 2015-07-10 09:01:02 -0500

Hi All,

I was wondering if there's a tool or a method to quickly identify surfaces,sub surfaces on OpenStudio like the inspector tool that we use on Scketchup?.

I am aware of the Facility tab but for my first model I have over 500+ spaces and the geometry was pretty complicated to remember a random surface or subsurface. I was getting some errors because some of the surfaces or sub surfaces were missing the construction material or were not match. When this happens what I usually do is go back to skectchup and look for them using the inspector.



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answered 2014-10-22 17:28:28 -0500

updated 2014-10-22 20:29:13 -0500

In OpenStudio 1.4 we added an "Apply Measures Now" feature. You could use it to run a measure that reports information about surfaces much like the surface search does in the SketchUp plugin. You could create info or warning messages or you could export to text or csv file.

An alternate approach is to keep a copy of your model open in the SketchUp plugin just for reference. When you get an error in the app you can quickly check it in the plugin. Of course don't try to edit and save from the plugin if you are working in the app.

Updated - Just for anyone interested, here is an example section of code that would look for sub surfaces without constructions. This would go in the run section of a measure. As is, it just reports, and doesn't change the model, but you could extend this to assign constructions. You can also ask if a construction is hard assigned to a surface, or inherits the construction from its parent space, or from the building, etc.

sub_surfaces = model.getSubSurfaces
sub_surfaces.sort.each do |sub_surface|
  if not
    runner.registerWarning("#{} doesn't have a construction.")
    const_name =
    runner.registerInfo("Everything is fine with #{}. It uses #{const_name}.")
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Thanks David!!! I'm going to try with a measure on my next model.

Julian Nino's avatar Julian Nino  ( 2014-10-22 18:17:04 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-10-22 19:29:47 -0500

updated 2014-10-22 21:36:02 -0500

That sounds like a difficult first model! I think @David Goldwasser is suggesting to write your own measure to find surfaces, but in case you don't have the time or experience you could instead apply the Rename Space Surfaces Based on Parent Space and Orientation measure after downloading it through the OS App.

However, this will only provide additional information if you've named your spaces with meaningful names. As a best practice I try to name my spaces according to the architectural drawings. This allows me to quickly locate a space when I need to edit it. Also, I would suggest combining spaces/zones in the future to reduce modeling and simulation time. My first real model was ~175 zones and sometimes took 30 minutes to run!

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Great idea @MattSteen! I had forgotten about that measure. Now with Apply Measure now it would be very useful to know where a surface or subsurface is from just by its name. You also get orientation and surface type (e.g. door window, ...)

Also a good comment about a lot to of spaces to chew off for a first model. Even experienced modelers would avoid having hundreds of spaces in a model unless it was necessary (to save modeling time, sanity, and runtime).

David Goldwasser's avatar David Goldwasser  ( 2014-10-22 19:56:59 -0500 )edit

Thanks for the ideas guys, it was really hard the first days especially the sketch up part and that takes around 2 hours to run or maybe its just my computer :(, but now the new projects that i have are really easy and i don't have that kind of problems :).

Julian Nino's avatar Julian Nino  ( 2014-10-23 20:07:35 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-10-22 16:26:41 -0500

keb's avatar

updated 2015-04-06 14:18:08 -0500

Are you familiar with the Surface Search utility? It's a button that looks like a funnel within Sketchup as part of the Openstudio Tools toolbar. This toolbar is turned on by going to the View menu>Toolbars and selecting Openstudio Tools toolbar.

More information on the Inspector and Surface Search utility can be found here under Sketchup Plugin, Information Tools:

An example regarding functionality is in this thread: "How to model underground floors in Openstudio" here

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Yes I do, maybe I did not write my question properly, sorry for my English by the way.

What I was trying to ask is if i can use those same tools but in Openstudio this way when Im running the model and I get an error I don't have to jump back to scketchup. Thanks :)

Julian Nino's avatar Julian Nino  ( 2014-10-22 16:32:28 -0500 )edit

Gotcha, I'm not aware of a similar search function in the OS environment. I'm know the NREL folks or other users will chime in on this regarding the current search capabilities and limitations of each. (great English actually)

keb's avatar keb  ( 2014-10-22 16:41:13 -0500 )edit

Thanks, Its Just that for my first model i have a lot of spaces and that ping pong between OS And Sketch up its time consuming, now I am aware of the checks that I have to do on Sketch up and Im more careful. These same tools on OS will be very useful.

Julian Nino's avatar Julian Nino  ( 2014-10-22 16:45:22 -0500 )edit

@Kent Benson, your link in the above address seems to be broken. Can you correct/update it?

Ralph Muehleisen's avatar Ralph Muehleisen  ( 2014-10-23 10:14:06 -0500 )edit

@Ralph Muehleisen, I had that trouble before posting it (I edited above still). Try right-click, open in new tab if you have trouble, although left-click worked now without trouble. You also arrive at that link if go to and click Documentation up top.

keb's avatar keb  ( 2014-10-23 14:46:04 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2014-10-22 16:14:08 -0500

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Last updated: Jun 19 '15