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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Beyond the desktop with IMSI/Design’s TurboSite and free TurboSite Reader for iPad

February 20th, 2013 by Susan Smith

IMSI/Design announced TurboSite and free TurboSite Reader for iPad in November. I spoke to Bob Mayer about this release at Autodesk University.

TurboSite is a field and site survey mobile app that facilitates drawing in the field and geolocation using a GPS on an iPad. It also has an indoor sensor based positioning system which tracks your position indoors.

Royal Farros, CEO of IMSI/Design, said: “TurboSite is the first true mobile AEC app… a professional building app that can’t be done on a desktop or laptop computer.”

This product eliminates the need for laptops, full sets of building plans, table and chairs and digital cameras that were all a part of the site visit process in the past. The information gathering is also simplified by having this app on the iPad where all building plans can be electronically viewed and navigated with the touch screen.

According to the press release, GeoWalk tracks location within a structure, while GeoNudge pinpoints exact location. When documentation is required, a photo or video is taken using iPad’s built-in camera and is automatically positioned correctly in a separate layer over the electronic file. Text notes and audio annotations can also be added. Even your orientation when taking notes and photos is denoted by TurboSite’s unique GeoMarks. GeoMarks offers a collection of rich data that are geolocated, according to Mayer. This can includes audio, notes, photos, dictation, and many other data types.

Unlike the tedious traditional process, once the information is gathered, it’s immediately available for viewing and distribution using free TurboSite Reader. Almost all of the TurboSite app is in TurboSite Reader except the save functionality, said Mayer.

The patent-pending GeoWalk feature highlights innovation in TurboSite. Many times GPS is not available, for example, indoors where a GPS satellite signal is blocked or in remote locations where there is no wifi or cellular signal. More significantly, the vast majority of CAD drawings are not geolocated, rendering the GPS information you may have ineffective.

GeoWalk is anytime anywhere positioning. Using patent-pending SPS — IMSI/Design’s new Sensor Positioning System — GeoWalk does not require GPS or geolocated documents to track progress in real-time through a job site.

The following is a full list of features of both products from the press release:

TurboSite includes:

Real-Time Position Tracking

  • GeoWalk (patent pending): Anytime Anywhere positioning, even when GPS or A-GPS is not available or a document is not geolocated.
  • GPS: Full support for satellite GPS, A-GPS, WPS, etc.
  • SPS (patent pending): Sensor Positioning System, uses built-in sensors, including accelerometers, gyros, and compass, to determine position and orientation.
  • GeoNudge (patent pending): Allows you to dramatically increase the positional accuracy by moving position indicator to exact location

Documenting Features

  • GeoMark (patent pending): Intelligent markers and links that are auto-located and oriented
  • Automatically creates a layer containing GeoMarks and markups so original file is protected and undisturbed

Content types include:

  • Photos
  • Video
  • Audio/Dictation
  • Text
  • CAD drawing data
  • GeoMark Manager allows you to create, name, edit, delete, view and organize content for optimal reporting

Mark-Up Features

Redmark tools: Markup 2D and 3D objects using:

  • Line
  • Circle
  • Rectangle
  • Revision cloud
  • Highlighter
  • Text
  • Rectangular text box and leader
Inquiry tools

  • Distance/Dimension
  • Angle
  • Perimeter
  • Area
  • Layer Manager – Layer view manager to turn layers on/off, invert layers, turn all layers on/off
  • Layout support – View model space and paper space layouts in your drawing
  • Create screen shots of drawings and markups

Unique 3D Features

  • Support for 3D PDF (U3D)
  • Unique “always facing” text and dimensions that always face current view in 3D
  • Arrow leaders snap to 3D objects, uniquely allowing them to lock and orbit in 3D correctly

Automatic Report Generation

  • No more tedious compiling of gathered data, information can now be immediately viewed and shared using free TurboSite Reader

File Sharing, Interoperability, and Localization

File Management:

  • Create sub-folders
  • Cut/Copy/Paste/Rename files and folders
  • TAP (TurboApps) file format consolidates disparate file types and assembles into a single, highly-portable file to ease distribution, sharing, and archiving
  • Quickly email marked-up files
  • Native support for DWG, DXF, DWF, PDF, 3D PDF (U3D), plus more than a dozen other popular AEC file formats including 2CD, 3DM, 3DS, ASAT, CGM, DCD, DGN, EPS, FCW, IGS, OBJ, PLT, SAT, SKP, STEP, STL, STP, TCW, and WRZ
  • Support for 15 languages: Chinese (simplified), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish

“TurboSite is the first truly new AEC solution in a very long time,” said Farros. “We hope it will be considered one of the top AEC innovations of 2012.”

Availability and Pricing

TurboSite v1 for iPad has a limited time introductory price of $499 (regularly $999) and is available now. TurboSite Reader is free and is also available now. For more information, please visit

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Categories: AEC, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, construction, engineering, infrastructure, site planning

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