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American Society of Landscape Architects


January 2004 Issue

Riding the Digital Wave
Current and upcoming products for landscape architects.
By James L. Sipes, ASLA

In the life cycle of digital technology, every six months is a generation. Processing power doubles every 18 months, and the shelf life of most computers is around 30 months. The one constant is rapid change.

With the duration of many landscape architecture projects at more than 18 months, it is no wonder that landscape architects and other design professionals have a tough time keeping up with the cutting edge of technology. Deciding which technologies are lemons and which are worth integrating into the design process is no simple task.

James Yang/ IMAGES.COM

The past decade has seen lots of technological lemons, such as software on cassette tapes, the IBM PCjr and the Apple Lisa. Does anyone remember Gateway's Destination Big Screen PC, which used a large-screen TV as a computer monitor? Gateway found out that large TVs make lousy monitors and that most users didn't want to sit in their living room to work on the computer. And how long have we been talking about the paperless office? If anything, the amount of paper being used in design firms has increased because everyone prints out digital information.

Lemons are one reason that landscape architects tend to be conservative about purchasing computer hardware and software, but taking advantage of cutting-edge technology can mean more job opportunities. Conversely, inefficiencies from outdated or faulty technologies can cost many landscape architecture firms money. This article offers some guidelines on avoiding lemons, or at least making lemonade.

…To read the entire article, subscribe to LAM!

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