Network Rail will offer its data services to other firms as a new revenue stream
Network Rail is letting its staff see its network more clearly through a mapping tool that uses aerial data and produces high-resolution images that can be made 3D or put into cross sections.
This granular detail will allow the business to better position its employees, equip them with the right tools, and gain better visibility of all its assets – tracks, level crossings, signals and overhead lines included.
See how the project has progressed so far.
Project ORBIS is a digitisation of the network to prepare it for the 225 million customer journeys it expects per year by 2019.
It is centralising all of the information the firm has on its network.
Better visibility means it can avoid time and cost waste. For example, a member of staff will be able to repair a small part of the track that it knows is in bad condition, rather than refurbish the entire asset because time dictates that a refurbishment is due.
Network Rail has rolled out 13,000 Apple devices since 2012. To ensure that field-workers start using them in their day-to-day work, it has relaxed corporate restrictions.
While social media sites like Facebook are usually banned, the application has not been put behind a firewall on an employee device, in the hope this will encourage them to use it more often.
3. CSC partnership
Network Rail is working with integrator CSC for the project. It recently developed a mapping application for the firm, called Geo-RINM viewer.
Once the tool has been deployed across Network Rail it will be offered as a service to other rail companies and industries that will benefit from the data.
Being able to see trees along the train line has been hugely beneficial already, Network Rail found.
The map indicates the size of the tree's crown and trunk.
5. Cutting costs with tree management
Using the map to see where trees are in danger of falling on the track, or high density of leaves may affect the lines and cause delays, route managers can deploy staff in the right places to cut them back, saving time and costs.
The network is using data from the national Aerial survey. It filled the helicopter with high-tech equipment including infrared, high resolution and 3D camera technology. However, to update the map more frequently, it hopes to use drones once UK legislation is relaxed and the technology becomes more refined.