Tuesday 21 February 2017

RailTopoModel and Industry Foundation Classes: cooperation ahead

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The UIC RailTopoModel Expert Group and railML.org collaboratively work at providing the railway community with a detailed UML model to support the whole life cycle of the railway systems. The global objective of RailTopoModel (RTM, published as IRS 30100 – see www.railtopomodel.org ) is to provide a model capable of supporting simulations for railway systems. The overall objective of railML.org is to define a standard data exchange format, based on RTM. It shall support railway business use cases in all operations (Infrastructure Engineering and Maintenance, Interlocking and Route Management, Timetabling, etc.).

On 10 January, the representatives from the RailTopoModel (RTM) - railML.org initiatives and buildingSMART International (publisher of the IFC Standard) met in Frankfurt/Main to discuss collaboration in the future development of the railway modelling approaches, so as to ensure efficient exchange of consistent information.
buildingSMART International (bSI) is the home of openBIM, a publicly available and vendor-independent approach to Building Information Modelling. Within bSI, the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) are developed as a standard schema and exchange format for asset information. In 2015 the China Railways BIM Alliance submitted to bSI a first national development of IFC for the railway domain, which has been published as a bSI SPEC. The Chinese proposal could provide a foundation for further bSI developments in the railway domain.

The meeting served to share both project ambitions, deliverables and roadmaps and to discuss collaboration for convergence, consistency and complementarity. An introduction to this discussion is this scientific work of TU Dresden (Germany); it analyses RTM and IFC projects in view of their application to business needs.
The teams of RTM/railML.org and bSI/IFC share the willingness to organise a clear communication to the railway business about the consistency and complementary of both projects. A collaboration in future shall be initiated. A rough technical assessment resulted in the models primarily having different scopes of application, and could most probably complement one another to offer continuity between construction and operation. A linkage of the two models should be possible to ensure consistency in functional and spatial dimensions.

Both parties agreed to formalise cooperation in the coming months, in order to ensure consistency of solutions, and for the benefit of the railway industry. A first step in that direction could be a collaborative data dictionary on railway business objects. Further modeling activities are being considered, also as UIC follow-up projects to RTM.

Further steps will be discussed during the 8th UIC RailTopoModel conference on 4 May 2017, to be held at UIC in Paris.

For further information please contact Airy Magnien, Head of the UIC Data, Statistics and Economics Unit:


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