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Posted by on Jun 17, 2012 in Fresh Trends, Landscape architecture Posts, Most Popular Articles

10 Great Apps for Landscape Architects – Part 1

There’s an app for everything these days, but what are the best and must have apps for the landscape architecture professional?

Unless you’re living under a rock or have missed the iphone train you would know that apps are the latest craze in convenience, they are your gadget in your pocket, the Swiss Army penknife of the 21st century; and not to mention a booming business making many many people millionaires many times over.

You can even download a graffiti app that allows you to capture the image of your surroundings just like a video camera and write cyber graffiti all over it. All the fun, without the crime….  Yes apps have taken the world by storm and have weaved their way into the lives of every tech savvy individual, catering for all interests and gaining the world of apps the tag line “There’s an app for that”.

So where does Landscape Architecture fit into this glorious and intriguing world of apps. let’s have a look as we countdown and review some of the best out there:

1. Leafsnap                                              

Ever been out on site and you just can’t put your finger on that certain botanical name of a tree?  There’s an app for that.  Using visual recognition software, the software identifies trees from photographs of their leaves.  Simply place the leaf from the tree in question on a white background and snap away!  Currently only covering tree species of the Northeast United States, it will soon cover the entire USA as it is further developed by Columbia University, University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution.

Other similar apps worth checking out include TreeId, Winter TreeId for the British Isles and Tree ID for Northern America.

2. Landscaper’s Companion

A reference guide to over 25,000 annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees!  17 search categories cover the USA, United Kingdom and Australia.  The app also advises on USDA zone, aspect, growth habit, and plant features such as height, width and water needs.  The search feature allows you to put in; a site’s attributes and conditions; desired flower colour scheme; bloom time; height and spread; the app than generates a list of suitable plants for that location!

AutoCAD WS

Don’t you hate it when you get a call; you’re out of the office, being asked to look over a CAD drawing and not a laptop in sight.  There’s an app for that.

You can download DWG files from your email; view, edit, annotate, revise and share on your iPhone.  You don’t even need an internet connection; you can work with files offline you have downloaded previously.  Drawings can be worked in 2D and 3D drawing space.  This app allows you to update drawings on site and on the go!



Planimeter

So you’re out on site and you want to do a rough measurement of the site boundary quickly?  There’s an app for that.

Planimeter takes measurements off satellite maps (imperial & metric) and will calculate a site’s distance, perimeter and area.  The app allows you to not only measure the site but also the surrounding area in context, enriching the experience of your first site visit.  It can give a quick impression to the professional, of the scale of work that needs to be done while also being on site.

Apps for landscape architects, image credit: Youtube

Planimeter, image credit: Youtube

Dropbox

Let’s face it, our profession is all about sharing information, it’s how we get the job done.  Dropbox allows us to easily share and collect information across all our devices; iPhone, iPad, iTouch and in fact, any computer that has Dropbox!

It’s all the vital information stored in one location that can be accessed and uploaded to from anywhere with any device!  Aside from adding an extra element of security to your work, you can allow anyone to access a folder in your Dropbox!  Like it says on their website, Dropbox simplifies your life!

Morpholio

Morpholio was founded in 2011 by a group of architects and academics, to capitalize on explosion of device culture, the cloud and the social media and to use these factors to aid the creative process.

The platform of Morpholio allows for collaboration between designers from various professions.  It also includes features that allow for uploaded work to be critiqued by the Morpholio community.  This app is designed for the iPhone and iPad, it is definitely one to watch and a must have for those who wish to be involved in a creative online community.

Flipboard

A handy app that brings your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Reader, LinkedIn, Soundcloud, Tumblr and Flickr into one stream.  On top of that it offers the hottest stories from ares of spcial interest, such as design, photography, technology and science.

Having so many streams of information from various sources makes it an effective app for sharing information and for staying on top of emerging news and trends.

It’s hardly worth mentioning; as I’m sure the majority of you already have them (who doesn’t?).  But to be “app savvy”, you need Twitter (I recommend Twitteriffic), Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Pages Manager, Google+, Pinterest, Hootsuite, LinkedIn & Blogger, to name but a few!

Thanks to the explosion in social media and technology, our jobs have been made a hell of a lot easier.  Information sharing, communication, critique of one’s work and professional networking has been made possible to all…………..and is simply a touch of a button away.

See also 10 Great Apps for Landscape Architects – Part 2

Article written by Joseph Clancy

Featured image: shutterstock.com

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