by William (Bill) Beazley, PhD, Executive Director, SPED
There are an increasing number of tablet and smartphone applications that are being used in piping design and construction, since I reported on this last year. (BIC Magazine, September, 2011 Since then, it have become clear that targeted tablet and smartphone apps are useful at all levels of the plant lifecycle.
AutoCAD WS Mobile is already widely used to take drawings out on the job site. Today, though, there are multiple apps available. Lee Smith, Senior Project Designer at Willbros Engineers, Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma, says, “I use alot of iPhone and iPad apps …to aid in gathering field information and design.”
What makes some of these apps really interesting is the use of the built-in sensors for Global Positioning System (GPS), maps, inclinometer, camera, magnetometer, etc., to aid the app. For example, Theodolite is a multi-function augmented reality app that combines a compass, GPS, map, photo/movie camera, rangefinder, and two-axis inclinometer. Theodolite overlays real time information about position, altitude, bearing, range, and inclination on the iPhone’s live camera image, like an electronic viewfinder.
Others integrate photos and field notes. My Measures adds dimension arrows, angels or custom text to object on photo. No need to hold paper sketches in your pocket.

The apps have up to thousands of downloads.

Here is Lee’s list with some of my own:

AutoCAD WS Mobile

Theodolite - field camera

Theodolite Droid;;name=Google%20Play%20App%20Description

My Measure - photo dimension recording

PipingAbacus - fitting dimensions

Complete Piping - fitting selector

Piping Offset Calculator

SteelSelector - beam dimension

Canadoil Piping Program Calculator

Pipe Fitter Calculator

Pipe Fabrication Calculator