February 8, 2011
by Jessica Sheridan Assoc. AIA LEED AP

As Verizon is poised to deliver iPhones to its customers this week, I have been researching what my potential new phone will do for me in business, in the field, and all else architecture-related. I know I may be slightly behind the times (in good company with my fellow Verizon devotees), but it turns out there are many apps made for iPhones and iPads that have the potential to change the profession quite significantly. There are drawing tools, from Google SketchUp to iRhino 3D, various calculators and estimating tools, apps to track LEED credits, and there is even an app called goBIM that allows users to view BIM models. All of this is in addition to the typical web browsing capabilities (soon, you will be able to peruse the pages of OCULUS magazine when it launches a web version!). There is a great blog post on Software Advice that breaks down many of the relevant architecture and construction-related apps.

Although the apps are not revolutionary in themselves, what is groundbreaking is the transportability of the device. It opens many opportunities at meetings, where one could sketch design revisions or show the firm website with representative work, as well as on job sites, where one can work out discrepancies with contractors instantly and have a digital record to distribute to the team. I have seen some architecture and engineering firms using iPhones and iPads in this way already; but I think more and more the profession will pick up on the trend and realize its potential.

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