Banner Appforthat

14 Feb, 2014

AEC Pros turn their iPads into Power Tools

Event Recap   News You Can Use  
Blog Types

Read time: 2 minutes, 16 seconds


On February 12th, SMPS DC and RTKL Associates hosted “Theres an App For That: Work Smarter, Not Harder”, exploring the numerous applications that can help AEC pros turn their iPads into power tools.

The presentations were divided into three distinct areas of concentration: Technical Applications, Marketing Tools, and Publishing/Distribution Options. For the sake of brevity, we wont review every app covered at the event, but a full list can be found below. It should also be noted, this presentation was centered around the use of iPads and similar iOS devices.

Skip to App List »

Technical Applications

Some of the most impressive applications of the afternoon, these apps are designed to help architects, engineers, and other technical practitioners design, analyze, and showcase their projects. Sketching applications like Sketchbook Pro and Trace allow users to free draw ideas while more advanced apps like Autodesk Formit can capture satellite images, model 3D massings, and analyze their features. Another Autodesk offering, 123d Catch patches together dozens of photos, resulting in a three-dimensional rendering. The final and arguably most impressive application, Augment, can project a three dimensional rendering from almost any modeling file type and enable the user to manipulate it for amazing displays.


Sometimes it’s better just to keep it simple, and when it comes to social media applications, it is no different. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; these apps have been refined with mobile in mind, which is why they are often the ideal way to manage your firm’s social media efforts on mobile platforms. When it comes to the behind the scenes work of marketers and business developers, apps like Notability let you keep digital notes while also being able to record audio, syncing the two when referencing the notes later. Prezi, a non-linear presentation application provides a platform for unique, interactive, and adaptable content presentations.


The most intricate, time consuming, and powerful programs of the presentation, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite utilizes the design principles of InDesign to let users create a fully operational app. While this platform has functionality limited only by the creator’s imagination, one of the great scenarios outlined was the digital distribution of publications, with the added benefit of updating and analytics capabilities. But, before you run off to compile your folio, be prepared to invest thousands on the proper licensing, and 80-100 hours on design and testing.

A special thank you to the awesome presenters:
Technical – John Schippers of EYP
Marketing – Kate Erdy of SmithGroupJJR
Publishing – Alex Zilberman of RTKL

Featured Apps










*Denotes Autodesk Application

Written by:

Kyle Veater, David M. Schwarz Architects