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  • iPad Apps for AEC: Part 2

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    iPad Apps for AEC: Part 2


    Also, Inception currently does have one major limitation: it is not possible to export a project that others can then import on their iPads. The app can export CSV files capturing project data that can be read by an application like Affinity for more detailed programming and space planning on the project, but it would be good to also have the option of sharing project data with others who have the Inception app on their iPads.

    Perhaps Apple's recently announced iCloud initiative will enable Architactile to build this feature into Inception more easily.


    When my iPad was delivered, the FedEx employee delivering it commented, as he was handing the package to me, "Here's your new toy." (Apparently, he could look at the address it had been sent from and figure out that it was an iPad.)

    I didn't think much of this comment at first, but seeing the app from Inception that is priced like any other desktop computer application makes me wonder when the iPad will go beyond being seen as a "toy" and start being seen as a serious business tool by AEC professionals.

    There is so much development happening in this field that it is only a matter of time before the iPad is considered an important adjunct to the traditional computer to get design and construction work done.

    I should also add that the apps mentioned in this article are by no means the only iPad apps available for building design and visualization. There might be more that I am not aware of. In fact, I do hope that there are many more apps being developed for the AEC industry, since the iPad is such a fun alternative to getting work done!

    Lachmi Khemlani is the founder and editor of AECbytes, an online publication focused on researching, analyzing, and reviewing technology products and services for the building industry. She has a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling; a professional B.Arch. (honors) degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India; and an M.Phil. in architecture from the University of Cambridge. Khemlani has worked on design projects as a practicing architect, authored books on CAD and modeling, and taught CAD and 3D modeling at UC Berkeley. She currently consults and writes on AEC technology.

    This article is excerpted from "iPad Apps for AEC: Design and Visualization" by Lachmi Khemlani, copyright © 2011, with permission of the publisher, AECbytes.


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    iVisit 3D trades some of the flexibility of real-time model viewing, as found in BIMx and Design Review, for the high-quality rendering effects of a desktop rendering application.
    Image: ArchitectureWeek

    ArchWeek Image

    In addition to the labels visible within each panorama, iVisit 3D also displays a series of thumbnails of all of the available panoramas. The thumbnails are located in a popup tray that appears along the lower edge of the iPad screen.
    Image: ArchitectureWeek

    ArchWeek Image

    iVisit 3D also offers a rendered, cutaway plan view of the model, with labels for each panoramic view.
    Image: ArchitectureWeek Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Intended for pre-design work, Architactile's Inception app can be used to record and present basic project information, preliminary cost-estimate analyses, and early-stage schedules, as shown here for a sample project.
    Image: AECbytes Extra Large Image

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    Inception also organizes information about the different use groups/ programmatic elements defined for a given project.
    Image: AECbytes

    ArchWeek Image

    Inception's bubble diagramming can be used to depict adjacencies of programmatic elements. A bare-bones version of this iPad-specific app is offered for the iPhone and iPod Touch for $49.99.
    Image: AECbytes


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