Planning new railway lines and maintaining existing corridors require comprehensive surveying and modern asset management. Ability to make efficient asset management decisions is, in fact, entirely dependent upon the accuracy and credibility of the asset available data. Confidently knowing the full details of a multi ‐ billion dollar railway line makes a better decision‐making environment for maintenance. MERMEC offers a unique bundle of state-of-the-art services (asset survey, data processing, inventory set up) specifically conceived for the creation of a comprehensive asset inventory of every item within the right-of-way, a sort of a complete virtual system that can be remotely explored.
Survey of long railway corridors is obtained combining two inspection methods and remote sensing techniques: aerial LIDAR using carbon-fibre aircrafts “Prime” produced by the Angelo Investments Group’s company Blackshape, and mobile terrestrial inspection using measuring trains and hi-rail track recording vehicles. In Aerial LIDAR accurate lasers coupled to high-speed scanners collect very dense elevation data across landscapes easily mapping every railway asset (track, level crossing, tournouts, signals, platforms, buildings). A fleet of hi-rail track recording vehicles checks the railway infrastructure condition acquiring all critical parameters (track gauge, cross level, twist,…). Track centreline is acquired to provide an accurate reference for the data processing phase.
A single comprehensive dataset is developed combining information form aerial and terrestrial surveys in a two-phase process articulated in data fusion first and objects extraction afterwards. With Data fusion differences in collection speed, point density and positional accuracy are normalized by MERMEC specialists to obtain reliable high-resolution details. Ground control points are used to ortho-rectify aerial data while objects visible in both datasets become tie-points to realign aerial and terrestrial surveys. Final comprehensive dataset is used to identify and localize railway objects that are finally validated and referred to track centerline.
All extracted objects are enriched with further information and used for predictive maintenance planning. Metadata are added to every railway object to complete information (manufacturer, installation date, technical details, last inspection, …). Obtained data sets are incorporated into an integrated database platform where a web-based content-management system allowed users to analyse integrated data sets to better develop and illustrate planning and investment decisions. Maps are developed that incorporated all the known asset, environmental, planning, traffic-safety and operations data to provide a more complete condition and performance picture of the railway network. Operations and safety data combined with the ability to easily geolocate and parse out specific asset data allows customers the flexibility to target investments.