Tuesday 3 July 2012
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

3rd International Rail GIS Summit at UIC

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The 3rd International Rail GIS Summit was organised by Esri (sponsored by Nice, Nokia and Trimble) and hosted by UIC from 13 – 14 June 2012. This event brought together 70 participants from 14 countries to share experience and learn about different initiatives to deploy GIS within the railways. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology provides the possibility to interconnect different databases and workflows via location/positioning with geo coordinates.

In his opening address Mr Hans Günther Kersten, Director of the Rail System Department since 1 June 2012, expressed his interest in this annual event to facilitate the exchange of experience and intentions of GIS use within the railways. Knowing that GIS-related capabilities can be used in different domains such as emergency planning, ETCS signalling, asset management and vegetation control, he hoped UIC could strengthen the international GIS cooperation among the railways and the railway representation in EU initiatives such as the Inspire Directive.
One of the most remarkable presentations was given on RZD’s efforts in Russia to create a spatial data digital model of the 85,000 track-km and infrastructure facilities with a High Accurate Coordinate System using various complementary data capture technologies. In the case of new constructions, the spatial data will be created and stored from the pre-design phase which is rather innovative within the railways. This digital railway model will be used to measure the deflections from standards and to optimise the RZD track maintenance.

Network Rail presented their Rail Infrastructure Network Model and the recently defined Asset Information Strategy providing a comprehensive illustration of the global vision and the strategy delivery roadmap. Two presentations were given on the underground cable management in Poland and the Netherlands, and ProRail gave an update of their recent achievements to derive schematic representations from geographical data. RFF presented an exploratory comparison of different data acquisition methods for controlling vegetation alongside the rail network, and described new ideas on how to use GIS for train running operations.

This 3rd Rail GIS Summit, like the two previous editions, was characterised by lively discussions and intensive networking. The aforementioned and many other presentations are available on request at nissi@uic.org.

A more detailed article on this event is available in Eurospatial Communications by Jeff Thurston:


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Hans Günther Kersten, newly appointed Director of UIC Rail System Department
Andrey Voronkov, Roszhelorder Project, RZD and some participants
Ian Koeppel, Esri