Civil Engineers and Tech: The Utility of the Mobile Device Movement

Everyone has a smartphone or tablet these days, and correspondingly, there seems to be an app for everything. Civil engineering is no different, with applications that are tailor-made to make a hectic job easier. In fact, some apps make things much easier, helping with concepts, time management and many other things in the extremely competitive industry. The following are some of the best apps on the market for project managers, construction workers and civil engineers.

Control Center 7: Maintaining the Integrity of the Job Site

Running exclusively on the Apple iOS platform, Control Center 7 gives managers a measure of mobility that they would have lacked in the past. It works by linking to onsite cameras at a construction site, giving the user an almost complete observational capacity – without requiring his physical presence. This way, the project manager can be at a very important board meeting, or simply at another job site, while still making him quite accessible in case things start to go wrong at the other location.

An even more practical ability is one of liability; with cameras onsite and always on, issues with equipment are well documented just in case something goes wrong and a record is needed.

Material Estimator

The Material Estimator application is available for both the Android and iOS platforms, and is indispensible in today’s fast-paced engineering world. The tech sphere is so intertwined with construction, and this allows the committed civil engineer to keep an accounting of all her materials.

It has the interface of a calculator, with many of the keys replace with quantities exclusive to the construction world. It allows easy calculation of quantities of concrete, brick, boards and more, and makes the user much more efficient because everything is at her fingertips. The best feature of Material Estimator may be its ability to give projections of the amount of supplies and material needed, once the square footage of the project is entered into the provided fields. From there on, all that’s left to do is to order the stuff.

The Utility of the Mobile Device Movement

Project Quote Estimate – the Business Side of Construction

This compact piece of software from KADSoftware is only for the iPhone to date, and is still being developed – although it is live and accessible. It acts as a bridge between the client and the service provider; and it functions practically in real-time.

On the worker’s side, the need for new materials can often spring up quickly as project numbers come in. After the numbers come in, an on-site estimate can be made that is seen immediately by the user on the other end, and that is how business happens quickly and efficiently, with neither party being left in the dark about the figures and expectations.

Collaborative Applications for Project Management

It’s difficult to get more collaborative in any sphere than the work that goes on in civil engineering and construction. To this end, collaborative applications have been fully embraced in this sector. The following are some of the more robust options for facilitating the client-provider business relationship.

PlanGrid Says it All

PlanGrid is an almost inevitable merger between how things used to be done – with paper and pen – and how they will be done from here on out – with Smartphones and tablets. It is a truly collaborative piece of software, with its capacity to deliver project blueprints to all parties involved, and display updates and notes right on the screen for a much more efficient process than before.

This real-time aspect all but eliminates the chances of miscommunication on a project, and expedites the planning process – without increasing the number of errors. These dual accomplishments would have been very difficult to achieve in the world before Mobile. PlanGrid effectively removes geographical constraints throughout the planning stages of a venture.

Build It Live App

Build It Live is another cloud-based collaborative service. The owner invites users, who can then log on and view the project planning as it happens. Depending on the permissions granted, changes and updates can be made by administrators as the project progresses, with blueprints and essential documents being amendable while out in the field. They can then be shared with the client to see if things meet his expectations, and to receive directions if they don’t. The system also has an email feature to ping collaborators as to changes to the shared documents and project instructions.

Civil engineering is instrumental to any industrially-conscious society, given the importance of large construction projects that require expert oversight; from inception to completion. In particular, for a developed nation such as the U.S., where buildings, roads and sewage systems are aging, the call for civil engineers is only growing. According to the Occupational Handbook, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs available, and the growth rate is fast as people are starting to realize the wealth of work that needs to be done in the years to come. The above apps will give a healthy advantage to those that use them.


Sources:

1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm
2. http://tech.co/apps-for-construction-management-2014-09
3. http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/02/plangrid-builds-a-new-market-for-the-ipad-the-construction-industry/
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