Clive Elsdon Building Design joins the iPad Tablet revolution, and discovers some very useful “Apps”.

The Apple iPAD Tablet

Clive Elsdon Building Design invest in an iPad and discover it can do more than social media!

After over a year of resistance, we have eventually invested in an Apple iPad for the business, and joined the Tablet Revolution.

We were very concerned at first, after talking to a number of sales staff in leading computer retail outlets, that we would not be able to read PDF‘s on the iPad, let alone find any other use for it.

After Jayson Gurney of The Social Media Consultancy Ltd  put our mind to rest on the PDF score, and getting a good deal at Vodafone (Not one of the retailers who told us we couldn’t view PDF’s indecently) on an IPad 2, we decided to give it a go.

We took our new iPad along to the Bishop Auckland meeting of Social Media Cafes hosted by The Social Media Consultancy Ltd on Monday (26th June) having previously requested that the group discuss apps for tablet computers such as iPad and  Android Tablets.

Once again, the group showed how useful this type of networking can be, Jayson Gurney asked everyone who was using tablets what apps they used and the discussions also included what apps people were using on their smart phones.  We left with a list of useful apps to look at, many of which we have downloaded today.  These were mostly useful in general business terms, and not specific to Architectural Design, but at least we had a starting point.

One app we had downloaded before the meeting was facebook.  This app was proving slightly troublesome, and we discovered that people in the group were not using the app itself on their tablets, but accessing facebook through their browser. For example, one problem we noticed in the short time we used the app was that we could only post on the Clive Elsdon Building Design facebook page as ourselves, rather than as the page. So since returning from the meeting, we have loaded facebook through the iPad’s Safari browser, and posted successfully as Clive Elsdon Building Design on our page, a great improvement already. Soon afterwards, we deleted the facebook app.

One useful App we have downloaded (though not used yet) as a direct result of a recommendation at the meeting is one called Chimpadeedoo  which works alongside our Mailchimp  Newsletter mailing list. (Have you signed up? There is a sign up widget on the top of the right hand menu bar on this webpage!).  This app will allow people to input their details directly on our iPad, and sign them up to the newsletter mailing list.  Of course, if they subsequently want to stop receiving the newsletter, they can unsubscribe.

Another App now on our iPad that we learnt about was Eventbrite  , which is an event booking system.  We don’t use this in connection with Clive Elsdon Building Design, but we do use Eventbrite in connection with our role at The Weardale Business CLub ( Which can also be found on facebook or twitter ).  This is a very new business club for businesses in Weardale and business people who live in Weardale, or very close to it!  This app will help us keep up to date with people who book onto Weardale Business Club meetings, and even help us register them at each event.

While we were looking for these apps in the App Store, we searched for other keywords which were perhaps more relevant to businesses involved in  Architectural Design rather than an App that other businesses may wish to use. We were amazed at how many free and low priced apps were available. We use AutoCAD every day in the office, and there are apps from Autodesk  to help us take it mobile!  AutoCAD WS  for example, which is free! We can view (and amend) drawings which are stored on AutoDesk’s cloud computer, or sent by e-mail. We had not known or even dreamed of this possibility. The discovery of this App made the worry over being able to read PDF’s seem very insignificant, if we can show clients actual AutoCAD drawings on the iPad.  I’m not sure if the cost of the iPad will ever be saved in not having to print out drawings though!  AutoDesk’s Design Review  is also available, this app allows you to view, mark up, print and track changes to Autodesk files.

Other Apps that are most useful in Architectural Design / Survey, many free, that we’ve downloaded today include:  A free spirit Level app that reads off the degrees of a slope (useful for that roof pitch, even just sighting it), a free geology app that links with a map to tell you what sort of ground you are stood on,  (Perhaps one linking to the Coal Mining Records would be a good idea?) and a free app called Measures Lite, which allows you to take a photo, and then write measurements on it.

What at first, for a long time, seemed like an expensive luxury, is beginning to look like an (almost) must have tool, and I think so far we have just scraped the surface of what is available!

Plus  we can play Train Conductor 2 on it!