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Thread: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

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    AUGI Addict .chad's Avatar
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    Default Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    I'm interested in the potential of using CAD real-time for field survey work when we do as-built surveys and am not sure if everything is quite up to speed yet. I know our options are a Tablet PC (convertible laptop) or an iPad like device but I'm not sure I can swing the support from the boss in either direction. I've seen AutoCAD WS but haven't had time to play with it. I'm sure both systems have the juice to run ACA but I know it isn't currently supported on the small tablets. Has anyone made the leap and is able to offer advice or even looked more in-depth into the whole thought process?

    In terms of software I've looked briefly at:
    ACA (use in office)
    Revit (converting to in office)
    AutoSketch - seems to be only a half a step above using paper & pen
    AutoCAD WS

    are there any other options out there?
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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    Ignoring iPads and Android clones and focusing on Tablet PCs.... you could look into using Design Review (if you're asbuilt surveys can be done my marking up a dwf of the deign drawings,)

    or Draftsight (free to use). Alternatively, there's also Ares from Graebert, or Bricsys. Intellicad 7 ought to be out RSN as well,
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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    Been using AutoCAD WS on my EVO (Android) Phone for quick field notes.

    But we have guys with full blown Stink Pads using it as well with great results. They can mark-up, cloud, rev, and save their notes online and it creates a second file for us to do with as we like.

    It is so new in concept that our procedures need to catch up but for field visits and mark-ups its been a great economical and reliable tool so far.
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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    I'm currently looking at the same issue, with limited success

    I was attracted by the pinch to zoom and general funkiness of the iPad and its clones. However, once one starts looking at seriously using AutoCAD and other professional programs in an outdoor / mobile environment, then you're actually looking at a completely different type of tablet.

    I'm veering towards getting the 'Motion J3500', souped-up with an Intel vPro i7 Core processor and 4Gb of RAM. It's an impressive machine, but being semi-rugged it looks more like an 'Etch-a-Sketch' than an iPad. It runs Windows 7 and makes the best of it.

    The J3500 comes in 2 display options (both 12.1" screen):

    The first option supports capacitative 2-finger multitouch as well as a Wacom digitiser stylus for input and has the AFFS+ screen (which is impressive in its own right)

    OR:

    The second display option has a AFFS+ 'view anywhere' display protected with 'Gorilla Glass' which makes it virtually indestructable and is also viewable in direct sunlight. BUT this option doesn't support the capacitative finger-touch input that made the iPad so lovable - input can only be done by digitiser stylus and / or a detachable keyboard.

    The J3500 is one of the few tablets to have the processing power to run AutoCAD. Like I said, it is very well-built, has (protected) ports for all kinds of input / output and has good battery life. It has been out long enough for there to be a number of impartial reviews and videos on the 'net. But it is expensive, coming in at £2k plus tax.

    It sounds like I am a salesman for 'Motion Computing'. I most certainly am not and I would say that getting honest data and advice from Motion about their products - or even details of a local UK stockist is like getting blood out of a stone!

    There are more attractive-looking tablets out there, some with outdoor displays which both support 'touch' and have Gorilla Glass. See the Motion CL900 and Fujitsu Stylistic 550. But they use the Intel Atom Oaktrail processor, which would struggle with a lot of professional programs like CAD.

    Lenovo are bringing out something comparable in power to the J3500, probably running Android. But it will be a similar price to the J3500 as well.

    One can buy laptops with i7 4Gb processors and larger screens for a fraction of the price of the equivalent tablets.

    I too would welcome any comments from more seasoned users.

    For instance, I don't know if the funky 'touch' gestures actually work within programs such as 'AutoCAD or GIS - or say, within a Citrix environment. If not, then it's pointless going for a capacitative 'touch' screen.

    Cheers,



    Jim

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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    Has anyone tried the Asus Eee Slate? from the specs, it looks like a decent choice for CAD in the field.
    Last edited by cadtag; 2011-08-23 at 12:21 PM. Reason: sp
    Real pirates wear silk suits & ties, and write EULAs
    The only thing more dangerous to the liberty of a free people than big government, is big business.

    Toward a Sustainable Water Future: Visions for 2050 http://ascelibrary.org/doi/book/10.1061/9780784412077

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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    Quote Originally Posted by jim.morey View Post
    For instance, I don't know if the funky 'touch' gestures actually work within programs such as 'AutoCAD or GIS - or say, within a Citrix environment. If not, then it's pointless going for a capacitative 'touch' screen.
    This is why I would go for a system with a stylus. Currently we draw everything on a pad and then input later into CAD - the stylus / tablet interface would just save a step and be very similar to what we already do. If it is a convertible laptop it wouldn't be hard to plug in a mouse and work that way either.
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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    If you're happy using a stylus only, then it appears that there are more options open to you. Check out what 'PaceBlade' and others have to offer.

    I'm hoping to try out the Motion J3500 in a week or two. I'll let you know how I get on.

    As always, constructive comments from other users would be mucho appreciado.

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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    I use the Asus Ep121 with Revit and a Leica Disto D8 bluetooth laser measuring device. I love it. Let me know if you want me to come measure & model a building for you. I am thinking about upgrading to the slate pro when it comes out. Better processor and screen resolution (even though it is a little smaller screen), longer battery live. I also use an Energizer power to go 1800 to get up to six hours of work time without any available power on site.

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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    Also.. no the touch commands do not work with Revit 2013 & Windows 8. It looks like everything is there to write a plugin to translate between the API. Not sure why no one has done this (Like Autodesk). Am I the only person that thinks drawing programs SHOULD be used on tablet computers?

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    Default Re: Tablets & CAD for field surveys

    >>Am I the only person that thinks drawing programs SHOULD be used on tablet computers?

    probably not, it's just that
    (A) CAD is _NOT_ a drawing progam. I require accuracy and precision that is vastly better than a finger's worth of screen if you're using computer aided design as an electric pencil, you're not getting your moneys' worth from it. and

    (B) for the vast majority of us, the power and flexibility of a desktop are far more important than fat fingers on a tiny screen. and damn if I'm going to lug around a tablet with screen area equivalent to my two 20" monitors. Tablets have the potential to be a highly useful niche product for AEC, but mostly they are relegated to being media consumpition devices, because that's where the big market is.

    (C) staring at greasy fingerprints all day? I hope not.
    Real pirates wear silk suits & ties, and write EULAs
    The only thing more dangerous to the liberty of a free people than big government, is big business.

    Toward a Sustainable Water Future: Visions for 2050 http://ascelibrary.org/doi/book/10.1061/9780784412077

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