3 Tools That Will Change How You Design
10/01/2015 by Ryan Deane, ASLA, Digital Technology PPN Chair
ALSA's The Field

While the projects we do as landscape architects are slowly evolving, the ways we are able to execute and deliver these projects are progressing at light speed. Every day there are new technologies being developed that will redefine how we work in years to come. This blog is just a sample platter of what will likely be a part of your daily workflow in the not so distant future.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
nless you live under a rock, you have heard the buzz surrounding Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens. These are the two wearable’s that have everyone from the gaming world to the architectural world swooning over their potential. If you haven’t already done so, do a YouTube search for either one, watch a few videos, and then pick your jaw up off the floor. Recently, Digi-Capital predicted that the combined AR and VR industries could be worth $150 billion by 2020.

  • Oculus Rift uses virtual reality - the user is visually immersed in a model, seeing nothing but what is on the screen in front of them.
  • Microsoft Hololens uses augmented reality - Augmented reality allows computer generated graphics to be visually projected into the real world environment around the user.

Social Media
Social media is here to stay. Over 1.65 billion (and growing) social media accounts are being accessed via a mobile device. This data is often tied to a GPS location, which provides information that we can use as landscape architects.

This time lapse video from Foursquare is a circulation analysis showing check-ins over a 24 hour period in New York City. It shows where people are going and what they are doing at every second. For a fee, this data is available to you at any location to help inform your planning efforts.


Cloud-based Collaboration Tools
Flux IO is a cloud-based collaboration tools for architects, engineers, and contractors to exchange data and streamline complex design workflows.


The new programs and gadgets being introduced daily will redefine the way we work. The few that I’ve mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. In September 2015, Landscape Architecture Magazine reintroduced their “Tech” section, with Daniel Tal and Ryan Deane as editors at large. If you have any articles you’d like to see written on technology related topics, feel free to send an email to deane@slamcoll.com. Stay tuned!

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