In 2016, we already introduced some apps for architects that facilitated work between the office and building site. This article focuses on five apps that you can use in various areas of your professional everyday life. You will learn more about mobile architecture guides, apps for the visualization of 3D models and drone control via smartphone.
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New inspiration thanks to digital architecture guides on the go
Those who are looking for new ideas for construction projects and want to explore the outstanding work of other architects and planners on-site to do so have found just the right thing with the mobile architecture guide for Baden-Württemberg. The local architectural association referenced the modern building culture of the state in this app. The basis for this are those objects that have been awarded in the awarding process for exemplary construction.
The app allows an intelligent radius search for structures. In order to save the smartphone's data volume, the tool first shows thumbnails of the photos, i.e. low-resolution thumbnails. The high-resolution photos of the structures can be downloaded via a mobile Internet connection or WLAN. Similarly innovative apps for smartphones are "Gropius to Go – Modern architect guide" for Berlin and the surrounding area as well as "The Day of Architecture" for the event of the same name for all of Germany.
Innovative marketing with rich-media contents
Many planning offices have their own website and/or are active in social networks. High-quality contents for customer acquisition play an increasingly more important role here. The app ThingLink can be used to enrich project photos or plans with additional information. This includes, for example, text, links, Google Maps or videos.
In this image, these contents appear in the form of markers or hot spots. Clicking or touching them opens the respective informational window as a pop-up. This architecture software is very easy to handle. ThingLink is available for browsers and as an app for smartphones with iOS or Android. The advantage for marketing and sales: You can incorporate these rich media images into your own homepage or share them in social networks according to the YouTube principle.
Interactive learning of the BIM working method
The architectural firm ATP, which is a leader in integral planning in Austria, has developed its own app that anyone can use. On the ATP app the user can view fully designed 3D BIM models and explore the structure in 360 degrees with just a few clicks. All technical models are combined in this central model, such as the building envelope, electricity and sanitary facilities. Users switch the desired elements on and off by means of icons. The app is particularly suitable for explaining the complex working manner of BIM, such as for younger employees in planning offices who are not yet so familiar with the matter.
Structured data recording on the building site
The everyday life of architects and planners largely takes place between the office and building site. Data that they collect at the building site is then physically brought into the office in order to sort and assign it there. This is where mistakes can always occur. The operators of the project platform think project! have therefore developed an app for site managers that performs the transfer of data in digital form. In this way, you can quickly document results or conditions. Using an Internet connection, your smartphone transmits this information to the project platform in a structured form. The data can be used there instantly. Even if you do not have WiFi or mobile Internet for a short while, the cache feature makes it possible to synchronize the comments at a later time. The app exists for iOS and Android.
Ultra-modern image technology from the air
The drone Bebot 2 was developed by the French manufacturer Parrot. It includes a whole package of apps for architects that they can use to control the flying robots via smartphone. This innovative technology takes photos and videos from the air. The app Pix4Dcapture, which is part of the package, allows you to specify a flight path for the drone. Another paid app uses the images taken to calculate a three-dimensional model that can also be exported. This allows you, for example, to calculate roof areas, angles and offsets on an existing building more easily.
Digital tools are now part of everyday life for architects and planners. There are apps for a variety of application areas. Try out some tools to see which ones are suitable for you. You can find additional practical apps in part 1 of this series: "5 practical apps for architects and planners."