Technology Helps

Technology Helps

It is curious how the real estate industry has been slow to engage technology as a way to enhance its products. Other industry’s products, such as the automobile, entertainment, and energy, have all been leaders in using technologies to promote and make their products better. It is especially curious that the real estate industry is so behind when the key resource that creates value for real estate is “information” and “perception.”

In FORMA’s many years of serving real estate interests with rich technologies in media, mapping, analysis, presentations, and

documentation, there has been a general reluctance to “invest” in technology as a way to create value.

The early technologies in digital data and mapping were lead by Geographic Information Systems “GIS” and were embraced by the most sophisticated cities and land developers to enhance their services and products. Of course Computer Aided Design “CAD” was used by most service industries to do their work more efficiently. But the clients or principals in the real estate industry did not really care, they just

wanted good quality at a fair price. The exception was when “3D” presentations and simulations, enabled by CAD, began to wow the world.

s m a r  t m a p s tu d i o

Present    Compelling    Data    and    Presentations    with    Turnkey    Maps    &    User    Friendly    Access

3D Project Simulations

ArcGIS AutoCAD Google Sketchup Adobe Photoshop Adobe InDesign Adobe Illustrator More

All of these technologies have now grown together and evolved into generations of “Smart Maps” which are rich in depth, data, and geographic references. Even the

various free mapping systems we all have learned to use daily, are constantly enriching themselves with layers of data and capabilities.

The entertainment industry has helped real estate marketing and city’s community outreach programs with the ability to use “virtual reality” as a communication tool. What’s more, this computer animation has gone from hugely expensive to “easy” by the advent of “cloud-based” rendering resources. FORMA includes “3D thinking” as a normal part of our design process.

Perhaps the most dramatic technology today is the use of aerial video drones to capture a unique and telling view of any location and its environs. FORMA’s Smart Map Studio has deployed its drone more now that the FAA has defined the operating rules for drones in real estate industries. See the links below for some dramatic examples:

Pacific Shores Link Mesa Verde Open Space Link

Logically, these digital videos become geographically linked to a site’s database and fused with other technologies employed during the life of the project.

The most exciting evolving technology is the mobile apps that are becoming more common for mapping, GIS, and related platforms – exciting times! ESRI and its affiliates have mobile apps, educational materials, and personal use software that make mapping, data, and “on the fly” real-life experiences come together.

Story Maps are part of ArcGIS Online, ESRI’s cloud-based mapping and GIS platform. A Story Map is a web map that integrates maps, legends, text, photos, and video and provides functionality, such as swipe, pop-ups, and time sliders, to help users explore content. It can be created using a template and no coding is required. Avenza Maps (not an ESRI App) is a free app and works with georeferenced PDF files in the field. It

allows you to measure distance and area, record GPS tracks, find coordinates, and add geotagged photo placemarks.

Design Camp

FORMA hosted a student “Design Camp” on November 5, 2016. Five teams of students from Cal Poly Pomona vied for a cash prize on designing a theoretical infill mixed-use and transit-oriented development. The teams were free to express their best ideas in an eight-hour time frame. Practicing Professional Judges from ULI and other entities picked a winner and shared constructive ideas with the students. It was encouraging to see how much the students could accomplish within a short deadline.