6 great augmented reality apps for construction
For a sector that is often criticised for being slow to adopt new technologies, there is no shortage of choice for construction professionals in the augmented reality space.
by Adam Savage
Now that the industry is waking up to the possibilities that this technology can offer, in areas such as project visualisation, error prediction/prevention and communication, software providers have been coming out with a raft of new solutions.
But now that there’s such a multitude of applications out there, many of them performing very similar tasks, it can be difficult to know which ones to consider first.
To help you make your decision if you’re looking for an AR app to try on your phone or tablet we’ve come up with a list of some of the best immersive tools out there at the moment.
This mixed reality toolkit enables AEC industry professionals to build architectural models for design and presentation uses. Compatible with Android and iOS devices, Arki lets the user layer a 3D map over the real-world environment and take advantage of real-time visualisation at any scale, exploring the model on-site with a great deal of freedom. Projects can also be shared via email and/or social media through the app.
One major benefit that AR is bringing to construction is that it can provide a digital alternative to 2D prints on-site, and this is precisely what Immotef promises with AR Mapper. Site managers and contractors can follow a 3D projection of the entire project on every layer, whether it relates to the plumbing, insulation, electricity or any other technical installation. Employees can report work daily and implement comments, while follow-up and communication about the work is stored on the server, where information can be accessed by the authorised persons.
Here is another application that seems to be growing in popularity, with over 40,000 users across more than a dozen countries, according to the Danish company behind it. Workers can upload their BIM model to the app, and then scan the construction site using their phone’s camera. This creates a 3D map of the space, which the software uses to align and anchor the BIM model in the physical world, resulting in walk-through experiences that offer clear advantages over viewing 3D models in an office environment.
Errors that occur during a build can be costly and time consuming, which is why the makers of GAMMA AR have set out to try and prevent them with their technology. This building site monitoring and management application allows users to identify potential mishaps like missing openings and colliding pipes before they become a problem in reality while also simplifying the documentation process by doing it directly onto the 3D model, tracking progress as they go.
It may have been around for a few years now, but SmartReality from JBKnowledge is becoming an increasingly popular tool for building owners, facility managers and construction companies to use on their projects, and sits in the same category as Akri. With this app, interactive BIM models can be placed on top of printed construction plans to create three-dimensional visualisations of projects thanks to clever use of a smartphone’s built-in camera.
Described as a revolutionary platform for VR/AR communication, documentation and training, Visual Vocal enables the rapid creation, sharing and consumption of cloud-based AR/VR content. It can be used to accelerate decision-making on complex construction and engineering projects. With the new Mobile Authoring update, construction teams can produce high-res experiences on-site in less than two minutes, using any iOS or Android phone to deliver actionable insights on progress.
There are plenty more options out there if you search around, but if you just can’t wait to jump into the rapidly expanding world of AR for construction, going with any of these choices is sure to give you the best possible start.