Construction Surveyors May Be Moving from Clipboards to Technology

Engineers and those assessing urban areas and lifestyles have usually been armed with clipboards as they assess roadways, land use and construction. It may, however, soon be a thing of the past. A new app called CANVAS— Computer Assisted Neighborhood Visual Assessment System—could replace the clipboard and accompanied handwritten notes.  Michael Bader, a professor of sociology at American University in Washington, D.C., helped develop the app. Bader’s students use Google Street View to tally curb cuts, crosswalks and graffiti in and around the District, according to “The resulting heat map of ‘disorder’ features will be overlaid with health data about the elderly to tease out correlations between residents’ well-being and the physical state of the city,” writes Henry Grabar. As urban populations age in place, this has become a hot topic for city governments, he says. What does this mean for future construction jobs in U.S. cities? Sidewalks, awnings, noise and sleep patterns are all factors in the urban landscape.

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