LATISTA, a leading field data management software vendor, is set to release a new iPad version on Jan. 15 with upgrades that include increased speed for viewing building information modeling files in PDF format.

"We benchmarked it against many leading companies," says Patricia Remacle, vice president, product management at LATISTA, Reston, Va. She says the product was faster in most tests. The benchmarking was done by opening 20 files of varying size and complexity on the same iPad. The programs tested against were Good Reader, Adobe Reader and PDF Expert. She says LATISTA was faster on 14 of 20 files.

Beyond faster speed, LATISTA offers new features, "like adding issues directly to a drawing," says Dan Gowin, field technology manager for Davis Construction, Rockville, Md. "We used to take pictures of all the issues. Now it's just drag an issue and drop it on the floor plan."

Gowin is a beta-tester for the product. He has 120 iPads in the field and plans to issue 140 more this year. He says he's excited about new features that allow him to create, view and edit issues during the commissioning process.

Gowin calls the software a visual punch-list tool that lets construction inspectors drag a master punch list onto floor plans, create issues and attach them directly to drawings. The view can be filtered and only show certain flagged issues or certain floors of the building. "We're definitely looking into the barcode support as well," adds Gowin.

Remacle says the new version taps the iPad's ability to read barcodes with a built-in camera. If a piece of equipment is tagged to a barcode in a user's database, the iPad can display information about the equipment when the barcode is scanned. Users can then see issues tagged in prior inspections, the status of the fixes and create new issues, she says, adding that beta users suggest putting bar codes into rooms to access data about them.

Another new feature is its ability to toggle between an interactive PDF view, where users can draw or write notes, and a more limited, paper-like iPad display. The company is offering a free built-in demo project so non-LATISTA users can test it. It can be found on the Apple app store at