iPad in Construction

Discussion in 'iPad' started by El Jobso, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. El Jobso macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    I've been debating picking up an iPad to use in the field for construction purposes (plans, notes, etc.). Any of you using the iPad for such purposes? If so, what applications should I be looking at? Also, what cases would you recommend?
  2. Apple... macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2010
    The United States
    That's a neat idea. For your first app, I suggest iHandy Carpenter. I don't know about cases or anything else - construction isn't my profession. Good luck! ;)
  3. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    No idea on the apps, but if there was ever a true need for an Otterbox.....this would be it.
  4. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    A friend who does residential exterior work uses it for product brochures and to keep track of his estimates (office scans and emails him the pdfs) and other paperwork. He just uses an Apple case but he's especially anal (compared to another friend who's a physician and uses an OtterBox case because even though he's sedentary, he's clumsy).
  5. lostgear, Nov 11, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010

    lostgear macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2010
    I would think the only use would be some simple spreadsheet calculations you write yourself. Either the iPad is not powerful enough to run engineering software, or developers would not be willing to put their efforts into a very limited market. As an example, the most widely used piece of engineering software today is AutoCAD, this has literally only just been ported to the Mac OS, never mind iOS.

    However if you just need something to check emails, project extranets, PDF drawings etc and don't want to carry a laptop around, then the Ipad would be fine.

    Use the Ipad for what it was designed, consumption, not what your rosy specs think it could do, and you won't be disappointed.
  6. cakbar macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2008
    I remember reading recently that there is an Autocad Viewer app for the iPad. You may want to look for it if you're interested.
  7. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    His "rosy specs" want to review notes and drawings, which are tasks well-suited to the iPad. As for Autocad, this is what their website says about their iPad app:

    "The idea behind the AutoCAD iPad app, and a similar app for iPhone and iPod Touch, is that users can carry a lot of design files in a small package, which can be easily presented, reviewed or modified from the road without dragging around a Macbook or printing out a mound of pages."

    So as long as your plans are in Autocad DWG format (or pdf) then you should be good to go.

  8. GuhsDreg, Nov 11, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010

    GuhsDreg macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2009
    I am a PM for, mostly, public facilities construction. I have used the iPad since launch on a few projects. It has been incredible. If you deal mostly with PDF drawings, you will be fine. I have never used the AutoCAD app, and I don't think I will. I don't see why one would want DWG's in the field, anyways. I use goodreader and set up folders and store PDF's for all my projects. iDisk and Dropbox to transfer files. DocsToGo to track submittals, rfi's and CO's.

    I use apple's case, but I am not on site daily- so if you are you may want something stronger.

    I also know of a construction firm that use iPad's estimating.

    If you have more concerns, please ask me. I will help as much as I can.
  9. El Jobso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    Fortunately most of my drawings will be in PDF format. I suppose I can set up a DropBox account to keep my files up to date (plenty of revisions issued). Other than iAnnotate, is there any other annotation software worthwhile to make notes on the drawings? I'm also currently debating between the Otterbox Defender and the Incipio Destroyer.

    I greatly appreciate everyones input. I understand the iPad is a "consumption" device, but for my tasks, I think it'll work just fine.
  10. tekchic macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    You sound like you really did your homework. Knowing how to use an iPad before even having one will serve you well. :) Dropbox for PDF's etc, and iAnnotate (or the far cheaper GoodReader for iPad which now does annotation/highlighting) are perfect for what you're wanting to do.

    Both the cases you mentioned are GREAT -- I have a preference for Otterbox products, but I've not used the Defender for iPad.

    Enjoy your iPad!
  11. CanadianMac2008 macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2009
    I was walking to work the other day and saw several construction workers huddled around an iPad while on the street. I think the form factor is ideal for such away from a desk type jobs...
  12. Blocklayer macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    The construction apps at www.blocklayer.com might come in handy on your iPad on-site.
  13. rmitchell248 macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2010
    Liebsthal, Germany
    with proper organization I think it could be very useful for your construction management
  14. VelaSystems macrumors newbie


    May 18, 2011
    Hi GuhsDreg, El Jobso, tekchic,

    Great discussion on iPad apps for the Construction Indistry. In fact, we at Vela Systems have been developing mobile applications for the construction industry for years and were very excited to launch our iPad app for construction last year.

    You can do anything from carry your plans and specs into the field, to manage tasks and issues for subcontractors and more.

    You can read about it on my blog post here:


    Also, some of you asked about how to make iPads rugged enough for any construction job site. Many of our users have put their iPads inside cases from Otterbox, which work very well. You can read more about iPad and iPad2 cases here:


  15. macse30 macrumors regular


    Jul 30, 2009
    It's a great tool for construction. I find Evernote indispensable for field notes. The bigger screen is useful for drawings. Email and browsing is used in construction as much as any occupation. Things app will be more valuable when they get air syncing up and running.

    I love my iPhone Otterbox but the iPad2 case looks overkill. A three minute video for putting the case on seems excessive. I'd like to travel a little lighter when not on site and that thing seems semi-permanent. Anybody got feedback on that case yet? It seems Incipio does not have the Destroyer for iPad 2 yet. I guess I'll continue with my gaffer's tape on the back and Smart Cover until I find a suitable field-ready case.
  16. VelaSystems macrumors newbie


    May 18, 2011
    Yeah, I couldn't agree more with you that in some situations an ultra-durable cases is overkill. For you, that's probably because you've already been using an iPad and you know how you're going to use it.

    I talk to hundreds of project engineers, superintendents, project managers, and project execs who have never used an iPad and typically their first question is about durability, which makes sense as they're planning for the worst that could happen.

    But, the total number of times that we've seen iPads get damaged or broken is surprisingly low, so in the end it probably makes sense to just pick a case that fits your usage style.

  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Dude (John?), your 3 links basically say: OtterBox defender case
  18. Blakjack macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2009
  19. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England
    Otterbox sold at Target, or at least there at our local one
  20. jfrancis04 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2010
    What an awesome idea. I'm amazed every day by the unique ways people use the iPad.
  21. mrholder macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2009
    I would recommend the Otterbox Defender or the Incipio Destroyer case.
  22. chrsb macrumors member


    Apr 2, 2011
    I use mine in construction. I am an electrical contractor. I would recommend the following apps-

    Largeviewer- loads large PDF drawings a lot faster than other apps
    Dropbox- keep prints, time cards, work orders, etc
    Notes Plus- take notes in meetings.
    Any of the PDF markup apps, can do as builds, take notes on the prints
    logmein- access your work desktop from anywhere

    It can do 90% of what my laptop does.
  23. macse30 macrumors regular


    Jul 30, 2009
    What do you use for time cards?
  24. chrsb macrumors member


    Apr 2, 2011
    I just use a PDF that I made up.

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