Unified APIs for the AEC Industry
According to James Wagner, Lead Engineer at Bluebeam, “Working on a large commercial construction project is like shopping at a giant grocery store. You may need only a couple things on any given day, but you need to walk through the whole store to find them.” Bluebeam’s Atlas technology, currently in pilot phase, is all about the power of search and association. Read on to understand how Bluebeam uses Kloudless to merge the power of physical location and data delivery within the digital mapping engine, Atlas.
In the construction industry, each project involves dozens of companies accessing information from multiple sources, and superintendents and contractors can experience “app fatigue” when forced to jump between various software solutions. Bluebeam’s Atlas technology alleviates that fatigue by centralizing project information and tying it to a physical location within a construction site.
By using geo-location instead of traditional folder structures to organize and visualize construction data, this location-based orientation allows design and construction professionals to create and search a seamless digital map of their project that contains plans, people, material, site photos and drone imagery, all within highly detailed, zoomable layers. James calls it “Google Maps for construction.”
As a result of this digital centralization, all parties working on the build–from superintendents to contractors, estimators and owners–avoid the time-suck and hassle of paper-handling and version control.
Professionals working on a construction project share hundreds and sometimes thousands of construction documents a day. When the project’s designers, contractors, estimators, regulators and subcontractors mark up and edit these documents, maintaining version control becomes an incredibly detailed, time consuming and critical task. Atlas’ developers needed to solve for this by ensuring every project team member could access the most up-to-date drawing or photo in the cloud storage service of their choice.
A point-to-point integration with a single cloud storage service would not meet the needs of all users in a project. Nor would an automated workflow requiring the user to sign in to a third-party service. They needed an interactive, on-demand file picker so project teams could use their own or contractually mandated storage services as data repositories.
Further complicating matters, prospective Atlas users might use less common storage services such as ShareFile or ones more popular in the construction community like Egnyte. Without an integration to a plethora of storage services, Atlas would become one more data silo. Lucky for them, solutions existed for the integration piece, so they could continue focusing on their end-users’ holistic product experience instead.