Discover the GIS solutions developed by Infrabel using Esri products

Infrabel, responsible for the railway infrastructure in Belgium, has recently implemented two advanced GIS solutions with the help of Esri products. The use of GIS concepts is steadily increasing within the company, essential for the effective management of assets and the safety of employees.

Damien Paque is the Team Leader of Geo Services & Solutions within the ICT department of Infrabel. As the person in charge of GIS-related projects, cartography, and geolocation, he speaks proudly about his team’s recent achievements: “Over the years, we have convinced our company of the importance of accurately geolocating each of our assets. Our department, originally consisting of 3 people, now has 25 individuals, all proficient in the use of Esri tools to overcome any challenges.”

The InfraGIS Application

A team of 10 people has implemented the InfraGIS application. This application allows for the localization of railway assets (switches, level crossings, structures, etc.) on a map. The goal? Enable easy visualization on a PC screen or a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, the tool provides maintenance and emergency services with a complete routing to guide them to the specific point in the network where intervention is required.

“We went even further,” adds Damien Paque. “We utilized geolocated photos taken by cameras on measurement vehicles that regularly travel the network. With this, we created ‘RailView’, which truly functions like Google Maps’ Street View.” A feature highly appreciated by Infrabel’s staff, allowing them to conduct an initial site visit for a new project without leaving their desks.

INfraGIS Viewer

The !nfraSPAD Project

Damien Paque’s team then added a layer of precision geolocation to Infrabel’s GIS. This led to the !nfraSPAD project, aiming to locate machinery on railway construction sites. “Two signals, one at the beginning and one at the end, mark the construction site. The idea is to alert the driver of the work train when approaching the site, preventing it from leaving and conflicting with ‘normal’ trains on other tracks.” The operation? Quite simple: the application knows the location of both signals and the exact position of the work train. As it approaches a signal, the driver receives a warning on their smartphone. Originally designed for Android phones, !nfraSPAD is now also available on iPhone.

Also, explore this article dedicated to Infrabel’s GIS achievements concerning the safety of its workers, published on the Esri USA website in the fall of 2022.

The Esri Tools

These advanced GIS developments are only possible with powerful products. “Esri’s tools are user-friendly for the end user,” states Damien Paque, expressing his satisfaction. “Our team has in-house specialists in these applications, and we can also rely on external consultants for the development and integration of solutions that meet the very specific needs of our company.”

This satisfaction is also shared by the end-users of InfraGIS and !nfraSPAD: “The feedback we regularly receive is extremely positive,” concludes Damien Paque with delight.