Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Six top apps for architects

From generating floor plans to mapping sun paths, Tom Ravenscroft picks the best time-saving apps for architects

The smartphone has turned 10 this year, and a lot has ‘appened’ in the digital world in that time. The rise of Uber has increased the ease and decreased the cost of getting around our cities; Airbnb’s ubiquity allows us to find somewhere to stay with the click of a button, and Pokémon Go got us trekking across them for a good week and a half early last year. There’s no doubt the technology within our portable devices has advanced as usage has risen dramatically – an estimated 1.4 billion smartphones were sold in 2016 alone. 

Apps have moved from being fun curiosities to useful, and sometimes essential, business tools, and architects are now integrating them into their daily workflows to organise information, save time, collect site data, access digital models and, indeed, learn about architecture. Here, we select six top apps for architects.

ArchiSnapper

Archisnapper

Archisnapper

ArchiSnapper is designed to save time by digitalising often time-consuming processes. Replacing the traditional camera and notebook, this field reporting app allows architects to create draft reports on site by enabling photographing, drawing, sketching and annotating within the app. All information collected is automatically numbered, classified and uploaded to the Cloud. Once a final PDF report has been created, it can be sent to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer.

ArchiSnapper is available on both iOS and Android devices with pricing based on number of users and projects 

Sun Seeker 

Sunseeker

Sunseeker

This app is ideal for architects wanting to know how sunlight will impact their designs. For any location on earth, Sun Seeker can show the solar path, its hour intervals, its equinox, winter and summer solstice paths, as well as rise, set and twilight times. The results can be viewed in either a flat compass view or an augmented reality 3D view. 

The app is available on iOS and Android devices for £9.99 and £5.75 respectively

Slack 

Slack

Slack

While not designed specifically for architects, Slack can greatly improve communication within architectural practices or across design teams. Created as a solution to redundant or irrelevant email chains and overflowing inboxes, this cloud-based communication tool allows users to group messages in a similar way to services such as WhatsApp. This gives architects the ability to create channels for a project, topic, team, or anything else where a particular group of people need to share a thread of information. Images, PDFs, documents and spreadsheets can also be dropped right into Slack.

Operating on most mobile devices and web browsers, a basic version of Slack is available for free with paid upgrades. Download here for iOS and Android 

Drone deploy

Drone deploy

Drone deploy

Drones are increasingly being utilised in the built environment and this free app provides architects with a tool to easily fly them and create interactive maps and models. Compatible with any drone, the app allows users to make flight plans, automate take-off, flight, image capture and landing, and continue non-interrupted flights to map large areas.

Images taken by the drone can be uploaded, examined and annotated on any device to generate maps and interactive 3D models. 

Drone Deploy is free on iOS and Android, with paid premium packages available

BIMx 

Bimx

Bimx

BIMx – Building Information Model eXplorer – is Graphisoft’s app for viewing ARCHICAD models on mobiles and tablets. The free app for Android and iOS allows architects to share designs with anyone who has it, and enables easy presentation to clients and contractors. Models can be viewed in 2D and 3D, or in virtual reality (VR) on the iPhone where the Google Cardboard is supported. 

Free, available on iOS and Android

MagicPlan 

Magic plan

Magic plan

MagicPlan is a tool that can save architects time by quickly generating professional floor plans simply by photographing rooms. Multiple rooms can be combined to create floor plans of entire buildings and elements such as furniture can be added.  

Free to use on both iOS and Android, MagicPlan has priced options for downloading on a per plan basis or on a monthly subscription 

Tom Ravenscroft is editor of video channel The B1M

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs