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In-Depth: IMSI TurboViewer for iPad

In this Product In-Depth we take a more detailed look and review IMSI’s executive plans for addressing the iOS market, bringing decades of CAD programming experience to the mobile market for CAD-based field professionals

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TurboCAD Viewer is the world’s first 3D DWG viewer application on a mobile device like the iPad. It is also, noted Farros, possibly the world’s fastest 3D DWG viewer application on any platform, desktop or mobile space. What makes TurboViewer so quick is a combination of Apple’s iPad 2 hardware and IMSI’s streamlined code and unique features. One such unique feature is the ability for the user to manipulate and zoom into a file while it is still loading. It accomplishes this by utilizing a rasterized image of the file at last load. The user can pan and zoom into this raster image during the limited seconds that the file is loading. The overall effect is it feels like the file loaded instantly.

If you think this is a trick and not useful think again. For example, while a large file is loading and you are thinking about what area of the file you want to work on, you can explore it and figure out where things actually are prior to the file being fully editable.

“When you load CAD files,” says Cochran, “you wait for it to fully appear and then you look at it for awhile to see where things are before you zoom into the part you are interested in.” What TurboViewer essentially does it allows you to see the file and accomplish something while it is loading so you don’t have to wait.

02 - A sample view of TurboViewer, showing Info drop down palette-window. From here you can launch online help.

02 - Another view of TurboViewer showing the axon of a 3D DWG file of a house.

Utilizing OpenGL ES on the Apple iPad hardware with its industry-leading graphics means, TurboViewer offers the user an incredibly fluid interactivity.

So how do you navigate in 3D?

Simple. With one finger. TurboViewer uses Apple’s Multi-touch user interface technology with a deft logic, focusing on the natural and the obvious. To spin a model around you simply create a spin-rotating motion with one finger on the iPad. To zoom in and out, you use the standard two-finger pinch gesture. A single finger double tap zooms to extents. A double-finger, double tap moves to full-screen mode and back.

The UI has a Views button and pop-up palette which allows you to navigate back to saved views or top, side, bottom and various axon views via intuitive 3d icons. (see image 03) You can also change the background color to various grays and reversing it entirely. There is also a “blueprint” blue color option.

Looking Forward

TurboViewer is just the start for IMSI/Design. Royal Farros remarked that a Pro version of this application is already in the works as well as more focused industry options. Unlike the current TurboViewer, the Pro version will not have Apple iAds at the bottom of the screen. While the company is not yet ready to discuss the Pro version’s complete feature set, TurboViewer Pro will be able to open far more industry standard CAD formats than just Autodesk DWG and DXF.

03 - Another view of TurboViewer. In this view the Views drop-down menu is displayed showing view options.

The company also has more ambitious plans for TurboViewer and its core code base, which they will reveal later in the year.

To learn more about the free TurboViewer and obtain it from the App Store on iTunes go here. To learn more about IMSI/Design visit their website.

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