Evolution

by Don Friedman on February 16, 2017


That picture was taken in 1950 but still pretty accurately represented what a drafting room looked like when I started full-time work as an engineer in 1987. We sat on high stools, at drafting tables, having taken our suit jackets off, and used insanely-bright task lamps. I never drafted in the formal sense, but I spent a lot of time drawing details for the drafters to copy – some offices still referred to drafters as “tracers” in the late ’80s – and my nice shirts and suit pants were often covered with graphite and eraser dust. In the interest of completeness, I should also point out that we had one phone for every four desks, one fax machine for an office of fifty or so people, and, obviously, no internet.

After passing through some intermediate stages, we now have a nearly paperless office that includes cloud-based data. Which brings me to the future: mobile technical apps. There will always be tasks that require heavy computing power, but a lot of the work in any given day does not. Comparing and reviewing drawings and sketching field conditions are two examples of processes that consume a lot of time but not necessarily much computing power. And the first example is often improved by being performed on site, while the second must be performed on site.

I don’t know what technology we’ll be using thirty years from now, but I know that the improving trend isn’t over.

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