A Visit to Canning Studios

by Kelly Streeter

I had the opportunity to visit John Canning Painting, Plastering and Conservation Studios in Cheshire, CT last week. Bill Barry, John Riccio and I met to discuss the application and customization of the TPAS software to the types of plaster surveys they routinely do. While there, I was able to tour the studio and get a sneak peak at the murals they are designing and executing for the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, CT. What a treat.

Transformative Technology – Tablet PC Software Modernizes Facility Condition Assessments

Chambers, Murphy and Burge Restoration Architects, are development partners for TPAS™  and have been utilizing the tablet-based digital annotation system in the field to document conditions and observations on their historic building restoration projects. In the article, Transformative Technology – Table PC Software Modernized Facility Condition Assessments, published in the October 2012 issue of  Properties Magazine , Michael Sanbury and Elizabeth Corbin Murphy describe how this technology has streamlined  their processes of assessments.

Watch an on-demand webinar recording here, or contact Kelly Streeter, PE,  partner at TPAS and Vertical Access.

Upgrading to New Tablet and Camera Models

Our clients often ask us for recommendations as to what hardware we use as we employ TPAS™ for the collection and cataloging of facade conditions data. We recently upgraded our tablet PCs to the  Motion J3500 model.  Its screen is optimized for outdoor use and its two batteries can be “hot swapped” to maximize productivity in the field.  Our new cameras are Panasonic DMC-TS20s.  As with the Motion tablet, the camera is built with durability and ruggedness in mind.  As we continue to develop the software side of TPAS™ to make condition surveys and field reporting more efficient, the new hardware will likewise add to our field productivity.

Web reporting with TPAS

Web-based TPAS reports allow you to interactively search, view and format all project data and photographs within an internet browser.  You can create, edit and print reports from the browser without opening AutoCAD.  The new TPAS report portal summarizes and aggregates survey data to allow all project stake holders to communicate more efficiently about site observations and quantities.  Once the data is brought into the portal you can create printable web and pdf reports to easily share information with others.  This new feature will reduce the time and resources your project team spends on reporting tasks for complex, data-driven projects.

Applications are as limitless as the reporting needs for your architecture, engineering or construction project, ranging from ASI and RFI reports to memos documenting hazardous condition or high priority items.

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For a recent Vertical Access project, five technicians were on site for five days and took over 3000 observations on one building.  The complete report deliverable, with the new web report, was delivered to the client within five business days of the team leaving the site.

Play with a beta web report site to see how powerful it is to have all observations and photos available in the cloud.  For a guided tour, register for our next webinar on June 4th at noon EDT.

Read more about TPAS

Keep in touch

TPAS Free Webinar on www.tpasllc.com

The January 23rd TPAS webinar was well attended and allowed us to introduce some great new capabilities.  If you weren’t able to make it, you can view the video chapters of the webinar at the TPAS website.   As always, feedback is important; it helps us to prioritize future improvements and features, so please get in touch to let us know what you think.

The content is split into six chapters:

  1. Welcome
  2. What is TPAS
  3. Why use TPAS
  4. TPAS Demo
  5. ROI
  6. Web-based reporting

Free TPAS Introductory Webinar – January 23, 2012

For this webinar we will review all of the basics, as we did in our Intro webinar in October.  We will also spend more time describing where we are going with TPAS.
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Web-based TPAS reports allow you to interactively search, view and format all project data and photographs within an internet browser.  You will be able to create, edit and print reports from the browser without opening AutoCAD.  The new TPAS report portal will summarize and aggregate data to allow all project stake holders to communicate more efficiently about site observations.  Once the data is brought into the portal you can create printable web and pdf reports to easily share information with others.  Ultimately, this will reduce the time and resources your project team spends on reporting tasks for complex, data-driven projects.

Applications are as limitless as the reporting needs for your architecture, engineering or construction project, ranging from ASI and RFI reports to memos documenting hazardous condition or high priority items.

Register for our free webinar to see how TPAS can work for you with this live demo and  Q+A forum.

Date: Monday, January 23, 2012
Time: noon – 1:00 pm EST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with information about how to login to the webinar. Hope you are able to make it!

Read more about TPAS

Keep in touch

AutoCAD PDF Layouts Now Retains Layer Information

When developing and sharing TPAS-generated reports, we often create PDF documents to allow report users without AutoCAD to view and print annotated drawings.  Until recently, the process of “printing” an AutoCAD layout to a pdf resulted in a “flat” document.  In other words, all AutoCAD layers were flattened, losing an incredibly powerful interpretation tool in the process.

Not anymore.  We can now create TPAS PDFs that retain the valuable layer information when viewed using Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Pro or higher, so that layers can be toggled on and off directly in the PDF.  An incredibly powerful new feature.

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TPAS Presents to Delegation of Chinese Building Professionals

Over lunch on November 8th, TPAS partner Kelly Streeter and Charlie Kramer from Beyer Blinder Belle talked to a group of 18 Chinese building professionals.  The topic of conversation was about the role of technology in BBB’s architecture practice and the role of TPAS for the organized and efficient collection and usable reporting of site data.

A part of a BIMET (BIM Executive Training) group, the professionals hail from private and public industry all over China, representing, in part, China Academy of Building Research, SMARTCHINA Technology Group, and the Shanghai Construction Group.

Led by industry leader Jerry Laiserin, the group is spending two jam-packed weeks touring design and technology facilities throughout the US.  Their first stop was in New York, and one of their first meetings was their introduction to TPAS.

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Free TPAS Introductory Webinar – October 4, 2011

TPAS uses AutoCAD functions and formats you probably already know. It’s loaded into a ruggedized tablet PC linked to a digital camera along with project drawings.  TPAS lets you experience total digital inter-connectivity on site by entering graphical and numerical data, photographs and notes directly into your existing files.

TPAS enables you to…

  • Use standard and customizable block libraries and attributes to create customized documentation of conditions
  • Gain maximum insight into conditions on-site, digitally
  • Differentiate your service
  • Establish or maintain client relationships by providing higher quality, value-added reports

Register for our free webinar to see how TPAS can work for you with this live demo and  Q+A forum.

Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with information about how to login to the webinar. Hope you are able to make it!

Read more about TPAS

The Motion F5v with EyeFi: the site test

Over the past week, while surveying three buildings at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, I tested out our new TPAS  setup on site: the Motion F5v tablet computer running with EyeFi wireless capture and a Pentax WG1 camera.  After 7 years of working almost entirely with TPAS on site, I didn’t think there was much room for improvement.  I was proven wrong.

First, the tablet.

The Motion F5v weighs only 3.3 lbs.  Even though the weight wouldn’t seem to have much of an effect when you are hanging from ropes, it turns out it does.  I could easily hold the tablet with one hand (instead of with a forearm) while taking quick notes, not something I do with the bulkier tablets.  Also the molded handle at the top of the screen is a nice feature.  I often hooked my thumb into the handle to bring it closer to my face while looking at the screen.

Our biggest concerns when choosing tablets are screen visibility and battery life.  I found the screen on the F5 (with the ViewAnywhere option) great to use.  It is easy to control brightness and has great visibility in all kinds of light conditions.  The battery life is more than adequate, as well.  I have not gotten a backup battery for the F5 yet so I was working on one battery and charging up at lunch time and that was more than enough.

I LOVE wireless capture

The people at EyeFi have come up with an amazing concept that (most of the time) works really well.  EyeFi is an SD card that works with some cameras to create an ad hoc network between a computer (in this case, the F5) and the camera.  The network is very easy to set up and in no time I was wirelessly capturing images from my camera directly onto a designated disk on the F5 hard drive.  The only glitch here is that even with all of the newest software and hardware the connection is a bit inconsistent – you don’t ever lose photos, you just don’t always get the immediate satisfaction of seeing the photos transfer right after you take them.  As soon as I got used to it, I was very comfortable turning the ad hoc network off while I surveyed, only turning it on at the end of drops or while I was doing backups.  The time stamps of all of the photos don’t change so there is no change in how TPAS deals with the RESOLVE function.

It is a huge step in the right direction.  After tripping on the USB cord more times than I’d like to imagine, I’m incredibly excited to move towards EyeFi.