- 9th November 2017
- Posted by: Sophie Bunker
- Category: Blog
Winter is returning and the vegetation is dying away, which, for a community of hardy and dedicated geotechnical engineers, can only mean one thing. They are heading out to the extremities of Britain and its winter weather to help maintain the rail network with the 2017/18 cycle of earthwork asset examinations.
Throughout October our large Skipton meeting room became an industrial production line. The project team have been busy preparing a new batch of MC67 rugged devices, capable of working in extreme weather conditions. A total of 66 devices have been unboxed, setup, tested and delivered, ready for the earthwork examiners start-up safety meeting last week. This enabled a prompt start to examination in line with Network Rail’s expectations.
Our involvement with this project started 16 years ago. A pilot study determined if the use of spatially located mobile devices (a now antique HP iPaq and GPS) was feasible. Over a decade later, and after a few incarnations of the devices, our GISmo software has passed the test of time. Over 1 million geotechnical inspections have been carried out. This has covered over 20,000 miles of assets, comprising soil embankments, soil cuttings and rock slopes. 3 million photographs and sketches have been captured. On average, 50 examiners are required in a season, but up to 125 examiners have been known to be on site at the same time.
The system provides near real-time information to Amey’s quality assurance teams, to Network Rail’s Route asset managers, to the central geotechnical team, and ultimately to the Office of Road and Rail (ORR). Most recently we have been involved with supporting the system migration to Network Rail’s centralised enterprise asset management tool, to achieve the same standards of data collection, using the processes defined all those years ago. An incredibly impressive record considering the pace of change in the IT sector.
Want to know more?
Contact Derek Farrier, Systems, Software and Data Technical Director, for more information on the project. Visit our Systems, Software and Data web page for more information on our work in this field.