A transport special interest group could be set up under the umbrella of the AGI (Association for Geographic Information), UK to promote the benefits of geographic information (GI) in the industry.
Industry experts expressed their interest at a seminar organised by Great Britain’s mapping agency, Ordnance Survey. The Geographic Intelligence for Rail event was supported by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and the Railway Forum. Those attending included delegates from the Department for Transport, the Office of Rail Regulation, Network Rail, British Transport Police, ATOC and many of the train operators. The seminar focused on the power of GI to link and analyse disparate business data using a common spatial framework.
Ordnance Survey’s senior Account Manager for Rail, Peter Dickens, admitted that many organisations are already recognising the potential of GI. It can help with planning via improved risk analysis, aid the creation of prediction models by linking statistics such as those on crime and vandalism, improve asset management and enable the communication of real-time travel and tourist information. It can also be used in demographic profiling and performance analysis for the purpose of franchise bids, or for matching delay times with known local issues or environmental factors.
Realising the need for a new set of data standards and methodologies, Ordnance Survey is helping to develop the Digital National Framework (DNF). OS MasterMap, the definitive digital map of Great Britain has been developed along DNF principles. Designed for use with computer-based GIS and web-enabled services, it allows the rapid integration of data from many sources. It currently has four interoperable layers, namely topography; Address; Integrated Transport Network; and Imagery. Frequent updates keep pace with the continuously evolving landscape.
GI has revolutionised the way Network Rail collects and uses information about its property assets. Marlin GIS gives more than 5,000 employees instant desktop access to a range of Ordnance Survey digital data covering the entire railway network. Marlin also provides ownership information and details on the status of the company’s extensive property portfolio. The data also provides a valuable geographical context for engineering information such as track and signalling in need of maintenance or renewal.