esri summit berlin 2017The Esri 2017 European Transportation GIS Summit was held during May 10-11, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The event brought together about 200 delegates from 26 countries involved in a wide range of industries including aviation, rail, marine and road industries. Embarking under a new branding strategy - "The Science of Where" - the purpose of the event was to inform, educate and understand the current practices through the use of GIS within various respective transportation organizations. 

The Esri 2017 European Transportation GIS Summit was held during May 10-11, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The event brought together about 200 delegates from 26 countries who are involved in a wide range of sectors including aviation, rail, marine and roads. With the company embarking under a new branding strategy - "The Science of Where" - the purpose of the event was to inform, educate and understand current practices, based on GIS use, within transportation organizations.

Opening Address and Keynote

Ian Koeppel, International Business Development representative for Esri welcomes guests.Ian Koeppel, International Business Development representative for Esri welcomes guests.Ian Koeppel, International Business Development representative for Esri in the transportation sector welcomed attendees to the event while also explaining the background and purpose of the event.

He was followed by Jürgen Schumacher, Managing Director at Esri Deutschland who also welcomed those present and explained that we are living in an increasingly "smarter" world. He said, "GIS and location are helping to support digital frameworks:" That in reference to the fact that new experiences within these activities are helping to provide new opportunities - particularly within the transportation industry.

Another welcome was given by Ute Welland, Managing Director within Germany's "Land of Ideas" organization. She spoke about the German Mobility Award within Esri, "Ideas are our most valuable resource," she pointed out.

And, "mapping is a tool with a long tradition that provides new opportunities." Welland also mentioned that the word 'mapping' is often used in political strategy, transportation, mobility and planning operations. Four examples of the German Mobility Award, which was focused upon Participation in 2016, were presented. 

 Ute Welland, Managing Director within Germany's "Land of Ideas" Ute Welland, Managing Director within Germany's "Land of Ideas"1) KONUX - Smart Rail Information With Sensor Analysis: a project to replace manual measurements with sensors that calculate infrastructure lifetime. The main benefits being scheduling and ensuring infrastructure reliability. 

2) Cyface - More Conventional Roads: a crowd-sourced project using a sensor-based app that measures road shocks and vibrations. This data is then analysed with a view to improving road planning and maintenance.

3) Hubject - eRoaming Platform for Customer-friendly Charging of Electric Vehicles: an application that aims to integrate charging station locations, across providers, to provide a network of 40,000 stations across 3 continents. 

4) DHL PaketKopter - Transportation In Remote Areas: provides delivery using drones to "SkyPods" or stations that are located in selected remote areas. 

A short video including Esri Founder and President Jack Dangermond followed. He spoke about the new branding initiative "The Science of Where" explaining it in terms of an integration of systems through GIS. He said that Esri had strong transportation foundations and that Big Data was emerging as a key focus through analysis and visualization. "GIS has the power to bring it all together," he said. That in reference to both day-to-day work as well as the setting of visionary pathways for the future. 

In a presentation entitled "Implementation of a Shared Geodata Platform at Swiss National Railways" Raoul Parti, IT Manager talked about the G-Sharp Project in that organization. It includes a shared app that supports business needs linked to location within the company. About 600 requirements were reduced to 50 core basic needed kinds of data. Every employee is equipped with a mobile device across all business units. 

andrews ber2017Chris Andrews, Product Manager 3D at Esri Chris Andrews, Product Manager for 3D at Esri then spoke about what Esri is up to in terms of 3D and visualization with connection to transportation. Pointing to the tradition of 2D mapping, he included 3D and 4D in his talk. "The price of 3D technology is rapidly dropping," he said. "It is important to realize we are not just swapping 2D into 3D"; he further added. Andrews noted that automation is playing a larger role in the generation of 3D city models and urban activity. "Esri is investing heavily into game-like environments and research", Andrews mentioned.

The company has many 3D apps that connect to the ArcGIS platform to enable 3D related work activities and is also involved significantly in the area of 3D standards. Andrews pointed out that the Esri Living Atlas often receives more than 500 million hits per day, attesting to its popularity and the need for 3D related elevation road network data. 

Andrews said that "3D was being used across different scales in enterprises." He said, "BIM is not GIS - nor is GIS a BIM:" But they share data together. VR/AR/MR are all being researched in the company and some work involves Microsoft Hololens. "However, a challenge remains in terms of achieving a 90 frame per second (FPS) rate of presentation for large spatial data files. "However, companies like VRicon have had good results using highly dense data and ArcGIS 360 VR is a freely available downladable app from the company.  Andrews says, "there are not many 3D editing tools available" currently and that research is being conducted in this area too. 


In a presentation entitled "Using Adnaced GIS For Traveller Information", MobiGIS presented on a system that integrated all forms of transportation before calculating the optimal routing. Using the system, someone travelling by bus, train and or walking could calculate the best routes and times. Based on a case from KEOLIS, France several KPIs were determined from network analysis and demand. Through network topology, the transit stops, lines and conditions were all included using real survey data gathered from users. A second case involved MobiSchematics being used for the automatic creation of maps. This resulted in reduced time for constructing maps including vertical and horizontal layers. 

Brussels Airport presented on the GIS being used in that airport which includes management of 25,000 locations and 3D asset management. About 600 of 800 employees at the airport using the system with security managed at the database level. 

"Using Dynamic Schematic Asset Rail Planning at Network Rail" included details about the Wessex Route Network and 6000 work items. It includes different owners and sponsors who had a problem with visibility in the organization. Duplication was a common issue in the system and GIS helped to provide a single source of truth. This organization has considerable domain specific knowledge and immediately priortized the use of standardized data entry into the system. Both map and schematic views through a dynamic WorkBank App enable employees to see throughout the organization. A revolutionary Network Linear Referencing System was developed and calibrated to centre lines with track IDs that supported, through interpolation, distances between markers. 

The presentation "WebGIS for Public Communication On Railway Maintenance" was delivered by Prorail / Sweco. This project aimed to provide residents near rail areas with advanced warning of upcoming activities on the rail lines. Previously the company sent nearly 800,000 paper notices to residents to keep them informed with respect to 300 maintenance activities per year. This approach created headaches because scheduling was subject to numerous changes including weather and so on. Starting with an audience of 23,000, a pilot project using social media and email connected through GIS was used to manage the warning and notice operations. GeoWeb standards were built into the contractor system, keeping everyone on a standard approach. Residents would recieve emails with 14 advance warnings, including clickable links and images where the work would occur, helping to keep them up-to-date.

prorail nlWebGIS for Public Communication On Railway Maintenance - ProRail / SWECO

"GIS-based Vegeation Management at Swiss Railways SBB" described ongoing work at that organization where 1170 km of track and 4,000 structures are protected from avalanches using location technology for vegetation monitoring and identification of problem areas. Previously, maintaining a suitable database for this purpose was not possible. Orthophotos are now handled through automation and areas are identified quickly and planning can begin one year prior to taking place. This streamlines the business model and provides better response. Pop-up reports can be quickly generated and edited. Improved coordination allows for a basket of activities to selected areas with each contractor being informed. 

Transforming Big Data & GIS Into Action - Accelerating Incident Handling Time - Ron Rumberg / QognifyTransforming Big Data & GIS Into Action - Accelerating Incident Handling Time - Ron Rumberg / Qognify

In the presentation "Transforming Big Data & GIS Into Action - Accelerating Incident Handling Time", Ron Rumberg of Qognify mentioned that the company has projects with ProRail in the Netherlands, aeroexpress in Moscow and NTransit in New Jersey. "Railways are complex systems and have difficulty to coordinate response in real-time," he said. "We tend to look at two factors - probability and impact," he added. "Safe organizations resolve incidents that smart organizations avoid," Rumberg says. In his view, overload happens in centrally managed systems. This can be overcome with situational management he suggested. More localized situational information is more responsive and can be presented to relevant groups only. Thus, stakeholders are more tightly linked to useful informaiton. 

"Geo-targeted Analysis of Project Controls at a Major Railway" was presented by Rod Peel of Critigen. Scheduling and operations for railway construction were presented using GIS-based tools. He referred to this as 4D BIM (Building Information Modeling). "As we move from macro scale, more data is integrated," he said. "A 4D BIM map provides better insight." The status of construction operations was attached to GIS features. This allowed for the checking of construction sequencing using Primavera Data Warehouse. 

From Sweden came the presentation "GIS-centric Asset Management for Tramway Maintenance in Gothenburg" by Cityworks. "The asset registry is the biggest cost factor," said Phil Mogavero, Azteca Systems. Their system could be configured for specific client needs and is being used by the city of 500,000 for 12 tram lines and over 100 million trips per year. previously, the city had a customized system that was adapting to different needs in a non-standard way. With nearly 6,000 incidents reported monthly, service requests, inspection reports and the asset database is managed to provide about 3,000 - 4,000 inspections per year. The organization currently has 10 users with a high priority on asset registry operations. Is is anticipated the system will roll out to 7100 users with all teams integrated and new developments in street views. 

"Powering the National Aerospace Space System With Enterprise GIS" was presented by Jonathan Weaver of Esri. He said that a system of engagement works hand-in-hand with a system of record."The FAA in the U.S. moved from a CAD-based system to a data driven system." This involved a large shift from paper to become a digitally based system. "The FAA uses data-loaders to load information into into the FAA Enterprise System," he said. In the development and presentation of the FAA chart generation system, many rules are applied to the information. Charts can be automatically updated with tracking changes. As weather changes, different colors can be applied to charts as well. The FAA Aeronautical Data Service can be accessed online and data can be embedded into Google, for example. 3D spaces can be provided and uncontrolled airspace up to 400 feet in height can be monitored and presented for nearby construction. 

faa 3d gisPowering the National Aerospace Space System With Enterprise GIS - Jonathan Weaver / esri

The Manchester Airport presented on the topic "Collaborative Approach to Airports Transportation". This airport has been pursuing a GIS-based approach for a number of years, and it was interesting to catch up on the current state of the airport situation in that city. Recent growth has seen an increase of 10% in traffic in March 2017 with about 1 billion GBP being spent on continued innovations. New stands, piers, parking, access roads and other facilities are continuing to propel the airport forward. "Every area of business has been updated."  And "BIM practices are now being used." The current strategy is plan led, includes innovation and collaboration. "GIS is being used for both airport security and asset management in 3D - as well as utility spaces ."  Maximo coninues to be used as a single source point and future-proof designs are now part of the planning process. This airport group is now substantially involed in the Stansted Airport as well, which it acquired, where 43 million passengers will use the airport this year, up from 27 million. Manchester Airport anticipates nearly 55 million passengers going forward. 

Collaborative Approach to Airports Transportation - Manchester Airport GroupCollaborative Approach to Airports Transportation - Manchester Airport Group

"Concept for Integration of BIM and GIS in Transportation Projects" was presented by UmweltConsult in Germany. There is currently an impetus to integrate BIM and GIS in that country, and all new projects will require BIM / GIS integration for infrastructure related work by 2020 with ISO 16757 standards. Both 2D and 3D GIS are part of the mix, which is expected to align with GeoDesign principles.  "It is not possible to make a single integrated BIM / GIS system," it was pointed out, instead, transformation tools are expected to play a greater role in the combining of data. Both import / export rules can be set prior to transformation of geodata. This company is an Esri partner, and also pointed out that Esri Model Builder could be used to document the transformation process. Projects included the Munich Autobahn, 5D BIM building in Cologne and a 2D / 3D noise simulation. 

Concept for Integration of BIM and GIS in Transportation Projects" - UmweltConsult Concept for Integration of BIM and GIS in Transportation Projects" - UmweltConsult

Conterra of Germany presented on the topic "How To Deal With Different Transportation Data Standards".  Currently different standards such as DATEX II, OKSTRA and GTFS are being used for transportation purposes in Germany. FME technology is once again used to bridge these data exchanges and a project involving Stadwerke Munster was presented. In that city a 400 km bus network is present with 600 stops, 18 routes and 120,000 passengers daily. Writing to GTFS has benefits because it can also be used in Google Transit. Schedules, timetables, routes and other information are available ot the public through a downloadable GIS-based app. A new corerected coordinate system is being used, higher quality data is in place and creators of the data remain the owners of the data. It is expected that real-time location data will become available in due course. 

All in all the event in Berlin was a success with various vendors also present. Esri continues to deploy technology for use in aviation, rail, marine and highway related projects. There is a fundamental transition toward 3D and BIM underway that was not previously emphasized in early summits. It will be interesting to see how far and deep Esri ventures into the 3D, 4D and visualization space going into the future, where so many companies and products thrive with innovative ideas and approaches. Surely GIS is a foundation tool that could play a major role. In some cases we have seen presentors at earlier summits who showed their initial efforts. Now, we can see progressions and innovations taking place as these applications mature and further build out into wider communal and enterprise efforts.