Banedanmark to digitise 10,000 cable drawings

Danish rail infrastructure manager Banedanmark intends to digitise 10,000 drawings. All of them provide information about cables buried in the ground along tracks. This move will make the information more easily accessible and will simplify the maintenance works.

There are different sorts of cables such as live cables or liquid-carrying cables that are buried along the railways managed by Banedanmark. Some of them have an age of as much as 100 years old. At some locations, there is a high concentration of the cables. This complicates maintenance works both for Banedanmark and its contractors. Therefore, the Danish rail infrastructure decided to convert the paper cable drawings into the digital ones and to save them in various formats (TIFF, PDF, DWG and GDN).

Crowdsourcing challenge

Banedanmark believes that the conversion of these drawings into a Geographical Information System (GIS) is a time-consuming and ineffective manual process. As a result, the company has focused on searching a solution using innovative digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, image recognition or robotics.”We have been told from several sides that this task must be solved manually. We would like to challenge that. We hope that there are new and innovative methods for automated conversion of the old cable drawings so that it does not have to be done manually,” said Banedanmark’s project manager Dorte Winther.

To investigate the possibility of an automated or semi-automated converting process, the Danish rail manager has organised the crowdsourcing challenge. The ideas have been submitted from 15 November until 15 December. Until 10 January, they will be evaluated. Banedanmark will choose the final winners by 22 January. The infrastructure company expects that a new solution will be applicable to other stakeholder organisations that face the same issue. Among them are the City of Copenhagen, the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet) and TDC Group (formerly Tele Danmark Communications).

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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