Civil Engineering Services
Kris McDonald, Technician, Novi, MI
When Kris McDonald started using the AutoCAD 360 mobile and cloud application last year, his job as a a civil engineering technician for Iowa-based Hall Engineering Company got a whole lot easier. McDonald used to haul printed plan sheets into the field when conducting land surveys and site inspections. Now, he simply loads them onto his iPad with the AutoCAD 360 mobile app.
To survey a site for a paving project or storm sewer, McDonald typically starts with an AutoCAD file of a previously completed survey. “I drop the AutoCAD file into AutoCAD 360 and lay an aerial photo behind it so that I can see landmarks in relationship to lines,” McDonald says. "When I’m in the field, I can cover a quarter to a full mile at a time. Being able to see everything on the iPad the whole time is very convenient.”
Before he started using AutoCAD 360, McDonald had to write notes in a field book each time he discovered new items, such as the foot-high concrete monument he encountered recently. “Now that we use AutoCAD 360, our field books are pretty empty,” he says. “We don’t note points in them anymore; we simply make edits in AutoCAD 360 on the iPad. It’s very easy to take measurements from point to point and jot down notes in the AutoCAD file while we’re in the field. And when I get back to the office, everything is synced up and in one place.”
AutoCAD 360 is not only making life easier in the field, it’s saving McDonald valuable time back in the office as well. For example, he used AutoCAD 360 during a $783,000 storm sewer project for the city of Centerville, Iowa last year, uploading the entire plan set onto his iPad and taking it into the field each day. “I made notes on the plans in AutoCAD 360 on a daily basis,” McDonald says, “essentially creating the as-builts as the project progressed. It probably saved a week’s worth of labor at the end of the project and eliminated the cost of printing plans each time we had a revision.”
McDonald isn’t shy about his enthusiasm for AutoCAD 360. “Recently, I set up a few of my team members with AutoCAD 360,” he says. “My plan is to reduce red-pen markups on plans and have everyone make revisions on the files we put on AutoCAD 360. That way, everyone can access plans whether they’re at home or in the office.”
“I love that AutoCAD 360 lets me upload civil drawings onto my iPad so that I have data with me in the field,” McDonald says with a smile. “It saves time and reduces headaches.”