From the archives: November 2014
The Android market is full of productivity apps and utilities that help construction professionals get work done in the field. The best apps are easy to use, work with or without a live internet connection, and help in a variety of capacities. Here’s our list of the best Android construction apps:
1: Pocket Handyman
Pocket Handyman for Android is a level, protractor, and flashlight all in one. Since the Android screen is its own light source, you won’t have to squint in low-light areas to read the bubble level. While these tools are the ones that every contractor should carry with them at all times, the Pocket Handyman makes that as easy as carrying your phone (which is something you probably do anyway). [Download]
2: Handy Construction Calculator
Estimating how much material you need for any project is one of the most important preparation steps. Order too much and your project can easily go over budget, while ordering too little can cause severe delays. Use the Handy Construction Calculators to estimate exactly how much you need, right from your Android device. It works with both metric and imperial measurements and has tools for roofing, framing, ceilings, and much more. [Download]
As a general contractor, you need a way to compare and manage bids from various vendors that lets you see exactly which ones have the best deals for your needs. With SmartBidNet, you can build a database of vendors, see previous quotes, and keep track of each vendor’s performance. Since it’s based on Android, you can use SmartBidNet as your phone directory, and make calls directly from within the app. [Download]
4: Electrical Wiring Pro
This is the most complete electrical wiring app anywhere, and it’s only available on the Android platform. Written by a working electrician, Electrical Wiring Pro helps electrical professionals calculate voltage drops, needed conduit sizes, and what kinds of transformers are required to complete a project. [Download]
Of course, our very own PlanGrid app is now out of beta on Android and is quickly becoming the must-have app for construction professionals.
Mark up your blueprints with industry standard shapes (clouds, arrows, etc.), and push those notes instantly to other members of your team. Keep track of new versions of blueprints, open issues, and make sure everyone is working off the same set. Take pictures directly from your device’s camera or gallery, and put them in place on the blueprints (no more sifting through hundreds of pictures later on an SD card, trying to find which one corresponds to which room). The PlanGrid service is also fine tuned for blueprints, using a specialized and unique OCR that automatically looks not only for sheet names, but also the callouts that link two sheets together.
PlanGrid is the cross-platform solution to keep track of blueprints and versions, significantly decrease printing costs, and the best way to make your paperless plans go further on the Android platform. [Download]
About the author: John-Peter Etcheber has worked in the document management services industry for over 10 years, organizing a wide array media including document archives, videotape libraries, and image testing databases for computer vision research.