Most of us on the Being Civil team are gadget junkies and now that AutoCAD WS is now available for both iOS and Android mobile operating systems, I thought I would share my thoughts on both versions of this very useful mobile application. Although this application is not Civil-specific, nor can it edit or create Civil Objects, I still think this can find a welcome home with our Civil 3D users.
Having tested and used both the tablet version (for the iPad) and the smartphone version (Android HTC EVO), I can say that this is a pretty slick application that I could have seen myself putting to use back when I worked out in the industry.
First off, the tablet version for the iPad. You definitely get a lot more screen real estate to get a better “picture” of your project, and the same functionality found on the smartphone version. The potential downside I could see of the iPad or tablet for a civil engineer/surveyor/field crew would be that, at least in my experience, they generally go to “dirty” places when out in the field. Although it is not overly large hardware, it is still a 10” piece of glass that is not easily tucked away in a pocket. I would also be hard pressed to risk my shiny new $600+ gadget at a construction site or out in the middle of the woods with the potential for rain.
Next is the smartphone version available for both Android phones and the iPhone. Although you may be working with a much smaller screen, I definitely can see this being used out in the field more frequently. For the reason that many people (including myself), are not more than 2 feet away from their phone at all times. It is easily concealed from dirty, wet environments and can be carried around in your pocket. I can just picture myself entering in foundation dimensions in a freshly dug hole, or grabbing a quick survey monument description deep in the New Hampshire woods.
I would’ve saved a forest’s worth of trees if I had this when I would field check road jobs that I had previously surveyed. Back then I would have taken rolls of paper out just to ensure I had something like all the correct UP numbers entered during data collection. Then having the ability to save the edited .DWG and the drafting technician would have those edits almost immediately, could have potentially saved hours of time and gallons of gasoline considering I would not have had to drive back to the office to drop off the marked up plans.
These are just a few examples of uses I have thought about using this new technology for when I worked in the field. I encourage you to leave your thoughts or comments about how you could see this being used in our industry. I am interested to hear your thoughts!
Update: Added this cool QR code to scan from any number of barcode scanner apps found on the Android Market: