How to use GIS in Road Infrastructure Management – Case Study from...

How to use GIS in Road Infrastructure Management – Case Study from Austria

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An Austrian government company, which plans, finances, builds, maintains and collects tolls for highways, explains how it is using GIS at each step for optimizing work processes.

ASFINAG — short for Autobahnen- und Schnellstraßen-Finanzierungs- Aktiengesellschaft (German for Autobahn and highway financing stock corporation) — is an Austrian publicly owned corporation that plans, finances, constructs, operates and tolls the entire Austrian motorway and express roads with a total length of 2,183 km. For about 2,800 employees GIS plays an increasing role supporting daily business. Topics vary from cadastre, drainage systems and infrastructure to noise protection, natural hazards, construction site program and long-term activities.

ASFINAG’s GIS is based on Esri ArcGIS, with SynerGIS WebOffice at the front-end. The company has used GIS since 2003 and today it is one main goal is the geographical visualization of data and information by using Web technologies. To guarantee up-to-date information, interfaces to several databases as well as guidelines and processes supporting the data management are indispensable.

The GIS team and its tasks are organized within ASFINAG in the department road network planning. The GIS team collaborates with the entire ASFINAG. The main goals are suppling a modern, state-of-the-art GIS system architecture, running a geographic platform with high performance and reliable data, providing data and information in a self-explanatory and pleasant way and guaranteeing up-to-date data by establishing interfaces to several databases. The GIS team sees itself as a service provider for all employees ASFINAG and contractors.

Data management

To guarantee up-to-date data and information, tasks are established:

• Guideline for surveying data: Contractors have to deliver surveying data according to the ASFINAG guideline “PLaDOK”, which describes the structure (layers) of an AutoCAD (dwg) dataset. The surveying data are stored in the GIS. The necessary activities between different ASFINAG departments and the contractors are specified within defined tasks.
• Project-specific data: Contractors have to deliver project-specific data for instance for drainage systems, natural hazards, etc., according to a given structure by the GIS team.
• Purchasing data like cadastre or orthophotos from third parties.
• Interface between databases: GIS connects to different databases, e.g. SAP, Sharepoint and document management system.
• Generating data can be done in house by GIS experts or by non GIS experts in different departments by using a WebGIS frontend.

Benefits of GIS

GIS users are in many departments of the whole company. Different departments like road service, asset management, electrical engineering, road network planning, construction site departments and customer service centre benefit from GIS information.

The Road Network Planning department is responsible for long-term programs, establishing concepts and studies for mid-term activities, executing specific projects (e.g. additional lanes) and coordinating the construction site program. GIS supports in visualizing necessary maintenance activities, construction site projects and long-term programs by using interfaces to SAP and Sharepoint. Furthermore, locations of rest areas und possible extensions are shown. Noise protection topics are also part of the GIS.

The Asset Management department is responsible for structure maintenance management, e.g. condition detection and assessment, project requirements and definition, infrastructure database and technical assessment of specific transportation. GIS integration allows the geographical documentation of bridges, expansion joints, retaining walls and noise protection walls. The interface to the Infrastructure Management Database enables information to be provided like the condition of objects, check-ups and monitoring. Linking between GIS and Document Management System allows the users to access technical documentation.
Road Operation tasks comprise topics such as refurbishment, upgrading and renewal works, road control service, winter service, cleaning rest and parking areas and reviewing and checking tunnel safety equipment. GIS supports the Road Operation department in visualizing responsibility and contact information of the different teams along the road network, giving information about cadastre and property, highlighting green space areas for cutting, and supplying data about drainage infrastructure and natural hazards.

ASFINAG MSG is responsible for collecting tolls on the ASFINAG road network. The customer service centre need information for the customer about situation of traffic, winter services, contact information of road service teams, noise protection, toll sticker and so on. All these information is provided by GIS. Furthermore, GIS supports in visualizing toll sign information and provides data about sign type, the teams responsible and technical information. The points of sale for toll sticker and heavy trucks, including address and contact, can be viewed.

Facts and figures

The GIS team consists of three employees. Data management is supported by one employee from ASFINAG ASG. Now 200 unique users are using the GIS daily. There are more than 200,000 map requests per month. The GIS team offers monthly GIS trainings. Employees have the possibility to learn different GIS functions and review the different GIS contents. Therefore, GIS links information of different departments together, supports decision processes and stimulates comprehensive collaboration within ASFINAG.