• Working Smarter: Architects and their Apps

Smart phones are all together taking over how we communicate and relate. Why not let them also take a swipe at how we design. Here are apps that could make an architects design process a little less bulky.
# 1 Dropbox

Who doesn’t know Drop box? we are all in love with it. Dropbox allows you to sync files across multiple computers and smartphones by saving them to a folder provided by Dropbox. Everything will then automatically sync for all of your computers and mobile devices automatically and even act as a backup. The real power comes from its ability to share links with any files in your Dropbox folder to clients or colleagues across the country or world instantly.

# 2 Inard Floor plan
Inard Floor Plan was created with the vision to empower users to create floor plans within minutes using only your phone to measure and draw. It combines the portability of a smart phone, its ability to measure distances, and the touch screen to deliver.

# 3 Google Maps and Earth

Whether you need directions to your destination, the closest good place for a bite to eat, or just a sense of where you are, Google Maps is your answer. Now to architects, this is the easiest means to site analysis with a single search taking you to the location at hand. Working hand in hand with this is the GPS area calculator and Measure that measures areas on Google Maps.

# 4 Street view
With Google Maps Street View, you can explore the world at street level. See popular landmarks, check out places you want to visit, and take a virtual trip around the world. Read…Site analysis, Desk Study.

# 5 D-photo measures

This app is the ultimate tool to Draw measurements and dimensions on photos and share the result with others. After photos are marked up with measurements, they can be sent to anyone, or exported to the media gallery. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.

# 6 AutoCAD WS
This app allows you to take your work on the go. It allows for viewing, editing and sharing of Auto Cad drawings with anyone, anywhere using your mobile device. It has to be a smart phone of-course.

# 7 My Measures
My measures is an application for storing and sharing object dimensions. All you have to do is take a photo of an object you wish to store dimensions of. Then you add dimensions: arrows, angels and text and voilà!

# 8 Planimeter

# 9 Smart distance
Measure the distance to the target with your phone. This range finder(telemeter) measures the Distance to a target by the camera perspective. The effective distance is 10m-1km. To measure the distance, you should know the height(width) of a target.Don’t worry!! Man’s height is 1.7m(5.6ft), a golf flag is 7ft, a bus is 3.2m(10.5ft), a door is 2.1m(7ft). With that, we can guess the height of almost everything.

# 10 SoundMeter
Tired of the bulky noise meter available? Then the Soundmeter app is just the thing. It measures the environmental SPL (sound pressure level) meter app uses your phone mic to measure noise volume in decibels(db), and shows a reference.

# 11 Vibration Meter
Measure the phone’s vibration or the earthquake with your phone. This app uses the phone sensors to measure vibration or the earthquake, and it shows a reference as a seismic detector.

# 12 Lux Meter

Lux Meter is a simple light meter for measuring illuminances (lux) by using the light sensor of the device. You can measure the amount of ambient light in a room and determine whether it is sufficient.

# 13 Spirit Level App
This is sure to shock any craftsmen on site. Hold any of the phone’s four sides against an object to test it for level or plumb, or lay it down on a flat surface for a 360° level.

Article by Emma Miloyo.
[Emma Miloyo is the Chairperson, Architects Chapter – Architectural Association of Kenya. The presentation was made at the Autodesk Live: Kenya 2013 with the keynote speech Working Smart.]

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