Updated March 24: We’ve added a seventh geosynthetics app, the EPI Geomembrane Product Locator, which was released in March 2017 after this article had already been compiled.
Smartphones are ubiquitous, as we all know; but they are also indispensible for information-intensive fields like civil and geotechnical engineering. A massive amount of communication takes place between sharing quotes and construction documents, verifying available personnel, expediting deliveries, etc. Still, we don’t find too many geosynthetics apps yet designed specifically for mobile devices.
This void exists, in many respects, because the larger tools used by engineers on their computers often require extremely advanced, time-consuming calculations to be performed—sometimes requiring hours to execute—and very large file sizes. Smartphones function best with simplified programs.
We are seeing more erosion control and geosynthetics apps emerge, though. Manufacturers are finding ways of developing convenient mobile tools to assist the wide-reaching communication needs of engineering and construction personnel.
Here, we check in with seven offerings available commonly in the iTunes and Google Play stores and which give a fairly rounded view of the approaches companies are taking to mobile geosynthetics apps.
EROSION CONTROL & GEOSYNTHETICS APPS
EPI GEOMEMBRANE PRODUCT LOCATOR
With a series of simple questions, such as whether a geomembrane will be buried or exposed and whether hydrocarbon resistance is required, the EPI Geomembrane Product Locator produces options for geomembrane product to suit a variety of applications. The system will make recommendations for when PVC, HDPE, XR-5, and other common constructions are an option. Each of the suggested options also includes a description of that type of geomembrane and the applications in which they are used.
The product locator is an efficient way to get a general idea of options and open a conversation with the material provider (EPI) on acquiring geomembrane rolls or discussing further what a project might need.
East Coast Erosion Control’s ECDesigner™ 2.0 elevates its original web calculator and product recommendation tool with a slick mobile interface and a convenient file size. The built-in mobile slope calculator takes advantage of smartphone camera enhancements: turn the camera on through the app, point at a slope, and the program will estimate the slope parameters for proper erosion or sediment control product selection. ECDesigner™ will calculates site-specific conditions for slope, spillway, and channel projects. Comprehensive outputs simplify design and submittals.
East Coast Erosion Control continues to offer the web-based version of the app and ECDesigner™ is still FREE to use (registration required).
Since its launch, we’ve heard steady recommendations for Presto Geosystems’s app, which focuses on a simple mission: providing appropriate support documentation. The Geosystems mobile app is a resource library, with an easy-to-use series of check boxes that enable engineers and contracts a fast way to request CAD drawings, specifications, installation guidelines, images, video links, and much more. The app allows the user to have the documents promptly emailed to them or to have them emailed to others.
Includes all of the sustainable, environmental management products Presto is known globally for: Geoweb® geocellular confinement systems, Geoblock® porous pavement systems, ATRA® geocell installation components, GeoTerra® construction mats, etc. Documents available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Last year, during the large Cobramseg geotechnical engineering conference in Brazil, geosynthetic reinforcement specialists Geo Soluções surprised many with the release of a diverse, independent geosynthetics e-learning platform. The digital resource, which is a joint venture with globally operating Strata Systems, is well done. It provides a broad range of technical content from geosynthetics applications, such as MSE walls, hydraulic works, construction on soft soils, erosion control, and geocells.
This free resource currently offers ~300 courses. It also has its own website, for those looking to access via computer instead of by mobile. NOTE: GeoAcademy, which was originally developed for the Brazilian market, is only available in Portuguese right now.
South Africa-based KayTech’s KayApp is an interactive resource for requesting product documentation, obtaining design or technical support, and more. It’s a convenient tool for customer interaction, and it also provides a bit of levity with the addition of a sustainability-related game. (For the game, users tilt the smartphone to have a recycling bin to catch plastic bottles. Bidim® geotextiles are manufactured from 100% recycled polyester.)
KayTech’s geosynthetics expertise includes erosion control, scour protection, reinforced soil structures, railway soil separation applications, subsoil drainage, liner system protection, and much more.
The TexionDesign app from Belgium-based Texion Geosynthetics nv provides calculation tools, formulae, and design rationale’s for a range of geosynthetic uses. The resource is not meant to be a final design tool—project-specific due diligence still required, of course—but it does help users get a stronger sense of how and why certain materials and designs are best used.
The most-recent update (2.0), for example, added “the complete theory of Sellmeijer for designing a geosynthetics reinforcement for building paved (LatRes) and unpaved (MemAct) roads, in addition to the existing calculation module. A new calculation module based on a combination of the work of Whitcomb & Bell and Jewell for reinforcement with geosynthetics of steep slopes. A new calculation module for the assessments of the need of a geosynthetic for building an embankment on weak soil, following the methodology introduced by P. Risseeuw.”
TENAX GARDEN & CONSTRUCTION
As its title implies, the Tenax Garden & Construction app includes much more than geosynthetics. It includes site fencing solutions, synthetic turf, crop covers, scaffolding covers, and much more. For the geosynthetics and erosion control interests, Italy-based Tenax S.p.A.’s app includes plenty on drainage and protection composites, as well as turf reinforcement.
The product and application information includes PDF downloads for brochures and reference documents, additional literature requests, retailer lists, etc.0