Mobile Rail Asset Inspection Solution

Mobile Rail Asset Inspection Solution

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) executes inspection programs as part of the U.S. Army Transportation Infrastructure Program (ATIP). These inspections, monitoring and assessment programs include airfields, bridges, dams, railroads, waterfront facilities, and ranges. The Army maintains over 1500 miles of railroad track throughout the United States and overseas. To manage and maintain these critical infrastructure assets, the Army has implemented inventory and inspection programs.

Before working with GISi, the process for rail asset inspection consisted of using pen and notepad to record defects along miles of tracks – while measuring where the defects were spotted.

There were two major types of defects that inspectors recorded. One was a true defect, which meant that something was wrong physically with the track and the rail was broken. The other type of defect was more count-based and included things like improper ballasts – as in how many improper ballasts were counted along the track.

We worked with our client to design an application for use on a Trimble device. This application on the device would be used to record all defects as the inspectors walked the tracks. The application allowed them to quickly and easily to count certain defects on the track and included quick buttons for adding defects. So they are walking the track and touching the screen every time they see one of the things they need to count. For any true defect that they need to stop and record, it can be done between 10 -15 seconds. Most of their time is now spent walking, versus walk, find something, enter it on paper, write it all down, and continue on walking. Instead of having to write down specific measurements for everything, those are included in the pick list – which makes the whole data entry process more efficient and accurate.

Another part of this project was enabling the application to function with RAILER, a system used to distribute the inspection data to those who needed to view it. We wrote an export for data collected to go to their data in RAILER so at the end of the day when they’ve finished inspections, they upload all their data from the Trimble to the synchronization process we put in place to upload all their data up to their server. Then they can run a script that would export all that data out in a way that RAILER can read in. This ability for the application to function with RAILER adds another layer of efficiency and accuracy to ensure the right people are getting the best possible information from the field.

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