DEVs take notice - app idea with high potential

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by MattWylde, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. MattWylde macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2009
    Will someone please please please make an iPhone/iPad app that is a .DWG viewer?

    As a Project Manager in the construction industry, I can tell you there is an extremely high demand for an app that does this function.

    To be clear, I do NOT care about making my own CAD drawings. I simply want to be able to have an architect email me a drawing in .DWG format that I can look at in the field. I cannot express how valuable this is to almost all upper management and field management in the construction industry. There is a huge, untapped, market here!! Viewing blueprints on an iPad would be fantastic! Autodesk has been sitting on their thumbs for 3 years now.

    This is certainly an app that can make some good sales in the business industry. With OS4.0 coming this summer to enhance the iPhone for the business enterprise, why not ride Apple's coat tail and get to this market before the other developers? I believe the first .DWG viewer for the iPad will sell very well, as long as it is a solid, functional app.
  2. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    How much would you be willing to pay for such an app?
  3. jalpert macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2008
    If you really believe in your idea, hire someone to program it for you and make some money at the same time. With that being said, I work in the construction industry and I agree with you, an app to view .dwg files would sell.
  4. amorya macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2007
    Just been googling about the DWG file format. It seems that the format is closed and requires reverse engineering, or using a library that already exists. I could find three libraries:

    DWGdirect requires a license and costs $2000 for your first year of development ($1500 annually thereafter).

    RealDWG from Autodesk, the creators of the format. $5000 for the first year, $2500 annually thereafter.

    LibreDWG is GPLv3. That essentially precludes you making money from the app, as anyone could simply recompile it and publish it on the App Store under their own name, for free or for payment.

    Now, that's not to say these fees would make the project infeasible. If there is a market for this kind of app, then $2000/year should be covered by sales. Sadly, though, it means I can't tell how easy it would be to integrate the commercial libraries into an iphone app, as I can't see the code until I shell out. (There is a cheaper $250 deal that gets you the code for development purposes, which would be the way to go to research such an app.)

    I don't have time to take on another app myself: my hands are full with my current one. But if anyone's interested, maybe these links would be a good starting point.

  5. skiplo macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2010
    don't think so

    @ MattWylde - Sorry but I must disagree that there would be a high demand for such an app.
    I too am a Project Manager for many large construction projects with the Army Corps of Engineers and believe there are already apps that perform these functions.
    If you wish to view .dwg files you are probably better off using your current software on a desktop or laptop (most field engineers have these).
    Because of the limited size of the viewing area on the iPhone/iPad we are saving layers in pdf format. The detail is very clear, you can zoom areas without loss of resolution, and there are already viewers available.
    We deal with both Military and Civilian design firms and have no trouble exchanging data.
  6. noah82 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I am sure that the app is in demand but it is a pretty specialized app so you would have to find a developer that has that kind of background.
  7. MattWylde thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2009
    If I weren't in the market for my first home, I would consider that investment. However, the SoCal housing market isn't exactly cheap, so I unfortunately don't have the money to make that investment. I've got to put my family needs first, which is why I'm sharing the idea with all of you. If you have the resources to make it happen, go for it!

    My company does mostly Navy projects, but we do also work with ACOE. While I agree that drawings are better viewed on the computer, that's not what I'm looking to accomplish. I want to have the ability to make annotations on a drawing in the field. I often have to email my Architect back and ask them to convert the drawings for me to .PDF so that I can then open it. Plus, just the simple functionality of being able to turn on and off layers to view specific sections/trades of work on a .DWG file is something that you cannot do in Acrobat with a .PDF file. What if I only want to look at the plumbing piping, but the page is cluttered with the furniture icons? Sure, I can do that, but if I could make it show ONLY the plumbing piping and base floor plan, I'd have something extremely useful.
  8. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    The .DWG costs seem like a big bag of hurt...

    What if you had an Apple Script on the Mac that would automatically export each specific drawing to PDF and then email those to your iPhone?
  9. jalpert macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2008
    $2k - $5K plus development costs could be considered a very small investment for even a small to medium sized company. For an individual it might not be feasible, but if a company has a few people in the field the rate of return is greater, even without putting the app up for sale on the app store.

    In terms of plans, our guys print on 11x17 because it's easier to deal with. The ipad is smaller but with the touch controls it should be very usable, but I don't do what they do so I'm not 100% sure.

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