We are spoiled for choice when it comes to apps — they range anywhere from recording our sleep cycle to reminding us to brush our teeth. Apps are constantly being developed to make our lives more interesting, if not easier. The apps for architecture and landscape architecture are plentiful, adapted to our habits from desk to field research and everything in between. In this article, I hope to show you some apps that made my academic life a bit easier and provided a more fascinating and different approach to projects.
Photosynth stiches together numerous images of an area and puts it into one file, creating a panoramic picture. The app takes the images from left to right, up to down, to create a photographic orb. On field trips, I found this app very useful for recording the space in order to get a better feel for it when I returned for desk study.
2. Behance and Behance Creative Portfolio
Behance is a site to display and discover online portfolios from across the artistic board, from categories such as Photography, Graphic Design, and, of course, Architecture. There are two apps, both by Behance: The first app is the site; the second is Creative Portfolio, which allows students and professionals to upload to the site, showcasing their portfolios.
3. Mini Scanner
This app has saved me many a time in the library! It is a simple app in which you can “scan” text or pictures and turn them into simple black and white drawings that are clear to read. The app is free, but you can upgrade it and gain the ability to email your images. I found this app very useful when I had small paragraphs of text to use, but didn’t want to waste paper photocopying. This is a definite favorite of mine.
4. Virtual Sketchpads-Paper by 53 and SketchBook by Autodesk
These apps are virtual sketchpads, designed to replicate a paper sketchpad. Both apps have an ease of options, allowing natural flow of the virtual pencil or pen. I find it works well even on the iPhone, but I would recommend a stylus. Paper by 53 is solely for iPad.
5. Google Drive/SkyDrive
In relation to your choice of email, these apps allow easy sharing of work and a peaceful mind. Whether it is my hard drive breaking down or, in a more recent situation, sending files that I couldn’t send through normal email due to size constraints — i.e portfolios, these are unbelievably useful. I have gotten into the habit of saving all my projects onto Google Drive after crits, and it really gives me peace of mind.
6. Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader is a simple and familiar app that allows interaction across various platforms. You can open documents directly as they are sent. It is very user friendly, with easy functions, and allows easy input and editing of existing information.
7. Dirr’s Shrub and Tree Finder
This app is a pocket version of the renowned Dirr’s book. Although this app is quite pricey, it seems like a very comprehensive app, with a variety of search options. This app is more for reference than plant identification, but allows a large, helpful book to be condensed into an application on your phone.
8. iRhino 3D
This app allows you to interact with your 3D models made through Rhino 3D from your portable device. There are some constraints, as you must shade your model in Rhino before opening it in the app, and there is a file size limit of about 50MB.
This app makes life in general easier! Although this is not a landscape-orientated app, we all need a bit of organization, and this app is here to help. It allows you to save, sync, and share files and, with an upgrade, you can take your notes offline.
10. Bluebeam Revu
The perfect app for PDF creation, markup, editing, and collaboration for a paperless workflow. Also, ideal for punch lists and simple to navigate.
Apps are becoming increasingly popular in the world of design, and certainly are certainly going to continue to influence the design process. With hundreds to choose from, and new creations daily, the future of apps for designers is bright!