Geo-Calc, Geometric Calculator
key review info
- Application: Geo-Calc 2.0
- Reviewed on:
- visualize and calculate values for ellipse
- (5 more, see all...)
Most calculators out there simply ease your work by doing all the number crunching. Few of them also have graph functions and can help you see the graph of various functions, which also eases up your work quite a bit. However, they are all tools, to be used in every day menial tasks, and they all follow this pattern. The one exception, that comes to confirm the rule, is Geo-Calc.
What it does
Unlike other calculators Geo-Calc is a geometrical calculator, especially designed to be an aid when working on geometry problems. Not only is it a great tool for quickly calculating areas, volumes and other such variables, it also serves as a great learning aid by offering 3D representations of the various shapes that are commonly encountered, thus helping students to better visualize the shapes.
Working with it
Geo-Calc has one single main window, at the top of which you can choose between 2D and 3D geometrical figures. Choosing one or the other will update the window with the names of all the available shapes on the second row of tabs. Choosing any geometrical figure will take you to a window with a representation of the figure and many empty text fields representing al the different variables such as angles, lengths of sides, height, area and volume.
The program has a rather open approach. You can enter any of the available variables and have it calculate all the others. Of course, you must provide sufficient information for it to be able to handle all of the calculations, but there is no specific set of information that is necessary, and you can work with the information you have available. Once enough information has been offered, the program will automatically display all of the calculated variables.
Beside the main window area, there are also three drawers that can be shown and hidden at will and which contain additional information.
The first drawer is the tape drawer, which keeps a log of all calculations that took place since it was last cleared. The values are kept separately for each geometrical figure, and there is no limit to the amount of values that can be kept. All the values are time and date stamped to make it easier to find them, but you cannot add any other sort of label. Also, while you cam copy-paste, the values being back into the main window form, there is no easy way to move all the information in one single click.
The second drawer is the graphics drawer, which holds a visual representation of the geometric figure that has been calculated. It displays both 2D figures as well as 3D ones, and the 3D figures can be freely rotated by clicking and dragging the mouse. Additionally the 3D figures can be sent into a perpetual, 'showcase' spin and can be viewed with or without the reference panes for the three dimensions.
The third drawer is the information drawer. Here you can find a definition of the geometrical figure currently selected as well as the information required for calculating it. The drawer lists all of the possible value combination for calculating the figure, in the order that the program processes them, meaning that it will first use the values combinations at the top of the list, and any other additional values will be ignored and replaced.
The drawers can all be shown and hidden at will and are not necessary for the functionality of the program. They can be resized to take up more space, but they cannot take less space than what they take by default.
More than just a calculator
Geo-Calc does more than just calculate the various values for the geometric figures it has. It's also a great way for children to better see how the different values influence the shape of the resulting figure and develop a better understanding of geometry. As a calculator of various geometric values, this program could have used a simple all text interface to the same effect, however, the visual approach takes things one step further.
A great program for doing geometric calculations and being able to visualize the figures both in 2D and 3D. Very easy to use and 100 percent intuitive.
There is no easy way to restore a figure from the archived values in the tape drawer other than manually copy-pasting each value. Also, the information drawer does not show the formulas used to calculate all of the various values.
Whether for yourself or your child, this program is a great aid when working with geometric figures, not just for the calculations themselves which could be done by any calculator, but for the visual approach used by the application.
Here are some screenshots, click to enlarge: