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COOL JOBSITE APPS
As builders and architects are becoming more tech savvy, a growing number of smart phone applications are changing the way they work. Our favorites:


AUTOCAD WS: Autodesk’s free AutoCAD WS allows architects and designers to view, edit, and share DWG files on their mobile devices. They can also draw basic shapes, annotate text, and measure distances. www.autocadws.com/mobile


TEAMVIEWER: Access your desktop at the office from your iPad. Users report that they’ve reliably opened and used programs like Photoshop and AutoCAD through this portal. www.teamviewer.com


DROPBOX: This iPad app is an invaluable tool for syncing files across several devices. Anything placed in the dropbox will be accessible on all connected devices–-including documents, PDFs, photos, and even music and movies. www.dropbox.com/ipad


LIGHTTRAC: Calculates and plots the angle of the sun and moon over a map, Great for planning solar panels. www.lighttracapp.com


MAGNOMETER: This Tesla meter, essentially a digital compass, will show strength and direction of magnetic fields in 3D. It can find studs/ wiring/plumbing in walls. www.koryhearn.com


LED FLASHLIGHT FOR IPHONE: The latest iteration of this free app uses the LED camera flash found in all iPhone 4s to create a really bright flashlight. www.koryhearn.com


WEBMD MOBILE: Allows users to look up drug facts, conditions and symptoms, and to get first-aid advice. It also includes health listings, such as doctors’ offices. www.webmd.com/mobile


DIGITAL ANGLE GAUGE: This Inclinometer can replace the real instrument by providing all of the professional features expected: Multi-Access Calibration, Zero (for delta measurements), and a Hold function to give you time to record the reading. http://itunes.apple.com


 


The Google Effect
One area of innovation that seems to be able to leap hurdles is the use of visualization tools to find, sell, and track homes and land. With the advent of Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Streetview, Google has transformed the real estate universe.


Thanks to Google’s mapping solutions, investigating a property–not to mention its proximity to the beach, the mountains, local winery, or local schools and shopping–starts at the 10,000 foot level.


“Here at Google, we long saw this as the most helpful use of the free version of these tools,” says Anne Espiritu, the Internet search giant’s global communications and public affairs manager.


“With relative ease, a potential real estate buyer could get on Google Earth or Google Streetview to check out houses and get a feel for a neighborhood before they physically travel to locations,” she says.


“We also offer a business-oriented version of Google Earth—Google Earth Pro—that provides customers with some compelling features for real estate, including parcel data outlines, used to determine a parcel’s exact boundary, as well as the previous value of a home or last sale date, and an advanced measuring tool for measuring buildings and line of sight,” Espiritu says.


She says realtors, buyers, and others also can use Google Earth Pro to identifying target markets using demographic data, then zero in to investigate the construction, slope, and land usage on and around the site.


“Another use falls into the category of managing risk and minimizing cost,” she adds. Insurance underwriters can evaluate properties from the office and even make a video record.


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