Architects: How Mobile Tech Can Make Documenting Your Site Visits Easier

July 27, 2023
How Mobile Tech Can Make Documenting Site Visits Easier

Architects have two options when documenting their site visits. They can either rely on traditional, manual processes with pen, paper, and hard copies of documents and drawings – or leverage the right mobile solutions to make the site visit as productive as possible.

But simply buying a top-of-the-line tablet and a host of peripherals won’t guarantee you’ll see the productivity gains you want from your investment. Instead, true on-site efficiency comes from using the right tech at the right time.

In our white paper on how architects can leverage mobile tech to save time, we show how architects can find the right mobile devices and apps for their needs and become more productive.

Document Your Site Inspection in Real-Time

Whether architects use a pen and paper or dictation to take notes, they’ll need to manually transcribe them to document the site visit. Compared with manual transcription, using a professional field report app can save an extra hour per report – or nearly two whole billable days each month.

And, because architects often juggle multiple projects, if their notes are captured before getting back to the office, it can mean tasks like completing the next steps don’t get delayed or forgotten and ensure project deadlines are met.

Thankfully, two technologies are on hand to help.

Many architects use speech-to-text technology in the office to ‘write’ hands-free more accurately and efficiently than typing. In fact, you’ve probably got the right app on your mobile device already – all Android and iOS devices have features that let users dictate notes by voice. So, when you’re visiting a site, speech-to-text is a great way to quickly take notes.

And, if you want the convenience of a mobile device, but prefer the feel of a pen, then pairing a stylus with a note-taking app like GoodNotes, Nebo, and OneNote can make documenting meetings and storing notes far smoother and easier than switching to a paper notebook.

The Latest Tech to Help You Measure and Scan

When architects are only on-site for a limited amount of time, they need to be able to sketch drafts as quickly and precisely as possible. All phones support basic apps using the device’s camera to take measurements and quickly generate floor plans. And if you have a more advanced device with a LiDAR scanner – like the latest generation of iPhones and iPads - you get even faster, more accurate measurements.

LiDAR technology gives apps more useful and accurate information about their surroundings. This enables architects to quickly scan a 3D model of any location and generate smoother, more reliable augmented reality to work in.

For example, using the RoomScan LiDAR app is as easy as tapping each wall and swiping for doors and openings. LiDAR does the rest, creating an accurate 3D model in minutes.

Once you’ve measured up and generated your plan on your device – far quicker than you could do manually – you’re now ready to annotate it.

The Best Apps for Annotating Digital Sketches

Whether an architect has scanned a site location by digital photography or using LiDAR, the next step is to add annotations and additional sketches. Trusted by millions of architects, an iPad in combination with a stylus and a sketch app gives a great drawing experience that bridges the gap between analog and digital work.

Adding on apps like Morpholio, Concepts, and Procreate allow users to scale, work with layers, and choose from brushes to create accurate, detailed sketches. And a platform such as ArchiSnapper, a mobile tool designed for architects, enables the user to record text, take photos, and annotate floor plans – all in one place.

These powerful aids can transform the way architects capture ideas and concepts, but whichever apps you use to streamline site inspections, you’ll still need to finish off your report and make it available for colleagues and clients to see.

How to Finish a Field Report Before You Get Back to the Office

A mobile device will never be able to match the power of an architect’s office workstation. But with a virtual desktop app, it’s possible to log in to workstations remotely from a mobile device.

While internet speeds might not be fast enough to offer a true in-office-like experience, it means you’ll still be able to upload files over slower connections rather than save them locally. So, by the time you leave the site, your freshly sketched and annotated report can be available from anywhere.

Learn More About How to Make the Most of Mobile Devices and Apps

On-site work is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile productivity. In our next blog, we’ll explore how devices can be used before and after site visits.


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