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Site Context and cove.tool

How does cove.tool generate site context?

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

cove.tool allows users to automatically import their building directly into their correct environment using the Site Context feature.

The site context data are retrieved from OpenStreetMap, which is an open-source, community-driven repository of map data. This data source includes rich information regarding building locations, shapes, and heights, among others. For this feature, site context data are retrieved according to the latitude and longitude of the site.

To ensure accurate analysis, analysis.tool allows buildings that are located within a 500-meter radius of the address to be edited. These buildings can either be modified in height or removed entirely, as their height can significantly impact the shadow analysis.

Buildings that are positioned beyond this 500-meter radius do not influence the analysis and are thus solely for visual purposes; these buildings cannot be modified.

Note: Reloading the address will refresh the data from OpenStreetMap, ensuring your analysis incorporates the most current building information.

Once the building data surrounding the project site has been retrieved, buildings that satisfy the following formula are included in the sDA and ASE calculations:

In this equation, h is the building height and d is the distance between the building and the project site. This criterion ensures that only buildings that have a direct impact on the daylight are included in the calculations.

The resulting site context and model of the project are then rendered on an interactive map ( The map provides further information about the project site, such as locations of public transit stops, stop lights, and traffic directions. When viewing the map with a low zoom level, building footprints are automatically extruded to their reported heights (retrieved by Mapbox from OpenStreetMap) to provide a visual of the overall site context (such as the skyline).

Find a video tutorial and full written guide on navigating the Daylight and Site Context page here.


1. How can I edit the global map, beyond deleting and resizing the buildings?

Users can change the global map by going to OpenStreetMap. Login, or if this is your first time, create an account. Once in the app, watch tutorial series to see how new buildings can be created, or edit existing models. Once you complete the changes, it will take 24 hours to be added to the global OpenStreetMap's database. After which covetool reviews the changes proposed using the following sources to validate the request.

1. OpenStreet Maps


3. mapbox

4. Property Data

2. How do I see all the buildings available in cove.tool without uploading a model?

To just see which locations have context modeled, visit Enter your building location and see what context is readily available.

3. What to do if a context building is incorrect or its height or shape is not accurate?

Context buildings are pre-generated in covetool through OpenStreetMaps. To edit the context building, open the edit mode using the pencil icon and select the context building. Now you can either update it's height or delete the building. Edits can also be made to the OpenStreetMaps database as well. You can also bring in the context geometry yourself by exporting it as part of the covetool shading devices view/tag.

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