Must Try Apps for Designers, Drafters & Engineers! Plus my favorite Organization Tips

Morning All!

I hope you’re having a great week and things aren’t too busy for you as we enter the fall season.

Fall can typically be a bit of a crazy time of year in the AEC industry, lots of projects are in a rush to wrap up construction before winter, deadlines are typically looming for large design projects and year-end is just a few months away.

All of this can be tough to keep up with and stay organized, especially when you add in Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in the span of just a few months.

I’ve written in the past about some of my favorite ways to keep from getting overwhelmed and stay on track with deadlines, tasks, and deliverables.

I highly recommend checking out the Post I wrote about staying organized here:
4 Tips to Staying Organized & Focused when Deadlines & Projects Pile Up

And if you’d prefer to read my posts in email format you can check this one out substack (here) and/or signup here: CAD Intentions Newsletter. One of the tricks I use and talk about in the post above to help keep things organized and get the often many thoughts/distractions out of my head, is to make lists and notes in a notebook so I can check things off and not forget them!
I really am always keeping lists, whether it’s a simple work-to-do list, writing down questions & outlining potential video & post ideas, or just doodling in my notebook, I’ve always got one nearby and ready.

A few days ago I used it to track all the apps/software I used in a day, with the exception of #AutoCAD and #Civil3D which I use every day regardless.

I had recently been asked what apps I recommend and or needed to do my job as a Civil Designer and thought it would be a good idea to occasionally write down the ones I find the most helpful.

This was my list for the day:
  • Plex Earth: I’ve mentioned Plex Earth a bunch over the last few years and they’ve even sponsored some videos on the channel! But that doesn’t mean I don’t actually use their software, I have used it for years and still consistently use and recommend it for designers, especially anyone in Civil, Mining, or Environmental type work where up-to-date Imagery is a must. It makes it easy and fast to import ortho images, contours, and terrain data directly into AutoCAD or Civil 3d.
  • Global Mapper: Global Mapper is another must-have app/software that I find myself using more and more in recent months/years. Global mapper tends to be a jack of all trades when it comes to mapping data. Whether I need to work with Lidar (.las), Shapefiles (.shp), Raster images, Geotiffs, etc… you name it Global Mapper can likely open it. I typically use it to simply process overly large lidar surface data and huge image files. It makes it easy and simple to crop them down, merge them, and re-sample them to make my data work better and smoother in Civil 3d or Recap.
  • Discord: I feel like many of you will already know about Discord but if not, it’s a community chat/forum software with a ton of features! It’s kind of similar to Microsoft Teams but I like the ability to use it as a forum as well as for chat. My CAD Support forum is on Discord and it provides a great alternative for the water cooler type chat and questions that many of us who work remotely don’t have access to anymore. Keeping in touch with either friends or fellow colleagues is important for all of us, having someone to ask a quick question or even just see how their weekend was can greatly brighten our days and keep us from missing those connections from the office.
  • Autodesk Recap: This one doesn’t need much of an explainer, if you work with surfaces or reality capture scans in AutoCAD or any Autodesk software, then you’ll likely need/use recap at some point. It’s not perfect but it does help keep large data sets/scans moving smoothly, allowing us to clean them up and link them into our designs easily. Plus it’s fund and looks pretty cool to pan around a 3d Scan of a project site or building!
  • Audible & Spotify: I try to learn something new as often as possible. Whether it’s through reading, courses, videos or podcasts, it’s easy now to stay curious and engaged. Any tasks that are somewhat trivial or repetitive, as long as you can still complete the work while listening, I highly recommend listening to audiobooks (Audible is my go to, you can get a free trial now using my link here: , podcasts or music. Not only does it help time go by quicker but I can also tend to get into a focused/flow-state and breeze through projects while also listening to my current Fiction Book or learning something new.

These are just some of my go-to daily apps, What are some of yours?

Let me know on Twitter (!

That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and I would love to hear what you think! 

PS. To stay up-to-date and get Tips, Tricks, Tutorials and News delivered weekly to your inbox sign up for the CAD Intentions Newsletter here for free: As always, thank you so much for reading and watching, I am super excited for the rest of the year, growing the content, tutorials, and blog with you all. 

Cheers and happy Drafting!


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Brandon is a Civil Designer, Aspiring Blogger/Creator, Husband, Father to two Amazing Kids and Tech Aficionado from a small town in Canada. He has been obsessed with design and technology since he can remember and working as a Civil Designer for nearly as long. Brandon’s blog and Youtube channel, has been his outlet and excuse for keeping up with new tech and trends in the CAD design world for the last 10 years growing to more than 60,000 subscribers and over 15,000,000 views, while also being the source of many great friendships and unique opportunities. If you would like to Sponsor CAD Intentions or Work together in some way, Please visit my About Page and send me an email: