The importance of detailed drawings in the construction industry is well documented, but in what ways are today’s technology tools enhancing the drawing and design stages of construction?

From incorporating color into designs to playing around with augmented reality to bring ideas to life, the latest software tools designed for the construction industry are helping architects, engineers, and other industry professionals visualize their plans before even breaking ground on a project.

At this stage in the game, BIM (building information modeling) is more than a trend; it is a hallmark technology being used throughout much of the construction industry. In many ways, BIM has become the standard industry process for designing and simulating buildings in 3D before and during a build.

Thanks to widely used solutions for BIM models like Autodesk Revit from Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., more construction professionals have the tools needed to incorporate visual data and elements into digital models. Through its free Autodesk Seek Web service, Autodesk solution users (including both Revit and AutoCAD) can search for, preview, and download thousands of product models directly into their BIM designs.

This community is rapidly expanding as more and more manufacturers recognize the benefits of providing product specs as 3D models that can be incorporated into BIM designs, providing the ability for potential customers to fully visualize how a product could enhance a project. Axis Communications, www.axis.com, Lund, Sweden, a network-video provider, recently announced it has partnered with Autodesk by making its IP-based cameras available for Autodesk Seek users.

With Axis’ portfolio of security cameras at their fingertips, the company says users can interactively view camera layouts, play around with placement and camera mounts, and even visualize the camera’s field of view, which can help identify and reduce “blind spots.” With a Revit add-in called Axis Camera View, users can even generate a 3D view of their CAD designs as seen through the lens of an Axis camera.

This type of visual data offers the chance to view designs from a unique angle, giving users a pretty accurate impression of what the surveillance scene will look like once the project is completed. As more construction professionals harness the power of visual data within their 3D models, they will benefit from improved planning, device placement, and overall design coordination.