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Asset Management & Maintenance

two people walking along railroad tracks in orange suits, map of Midwestern United States

Typically the largest cost rail networks face is the cost of managing and maintaining existing assets. Finding efficiency and cost savings in this area makes a major difference to overall profitability of the network.  It also has a direct impact on the customer experience. Over-running works or unplanned failures are key drivers of failure to meet customer expectations and performance targets. They can also drive additional cost through customer compensation schemes.

Asset management integration

Effective rail asset management requires understanding asset degradation cycles and the performance of assets over time. Geospatially enabling asset management solutions enables a more holistic view of your assets, from signalling and comms to track and wayside infrastructure. You maintain a state of good repair and stay ahead of maintenance activities. This enables a move from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance and helps to reduce the potential for asset failures.

Esri has extensive experience integrating ArcGIS with Asset Management systems such as SAP, Maximo, and Ellipse. Linking ArcGIS and Asset Management enables better business processes, with the opportunity to identify geographic patterns in asset failure, to spot opportunities to link works together geographically to deliver faster and at lower cost, and provide new analytics to inform asset maintenance cycles.

Two people working on a railroad track

Land & property management

As well as managing assets, rail providers need to manage the land and property that are needed to run those assets. Capturing and maintaining accurate records on land ownership and access is critical to delivering effective asset management. In addition, land owned by rail operators can be an asset in its own right for revenue generation or used to help meet environmental objectives e.g. through using land to generate solar energy, or to meet biodiversity targets.  

Many organisations use ArcGIS to provide a system of record for land and property management. This ranges from simple mapping of property and land parcels through to fully functioning land registry and title management applications. Once mapped in a land and property system based on ArcGIS, this data can then be used to support analysis around solar potential, undertaking habitat surveys and estimating carbon storage potential. ArcGIS is now also being used for indoor mapping of facilities such as train stations, to capture asset information and to deliver new insight on commercial opportunities.

California's High-Speed Rail
Two people looking at a railroad track

Reality capture & digital twin

Most rail organisations are now making widespread use of a variety of reality capture solutions including drone and aerial surveys, lidar scans, high-precision GPS/GNSS data capture, and CAD/BIM design plans. However, pulling that information together into a common platform is not always so easy. Many reality capture solutions come with their own built-in mapping apps, but most don’t support open geospatial data standards.  

ArcGIS offers a unique capability to support the ingest and management of data from all these types of reality capture platforms. Esri has worked closely with partners such as Trimble and Leica to provide support for their high-precision survey products and data, and worked with drone and imagery suppliers to support rapid processing and dissemination of this data.  Bringing this data together into a common geospatial platform offers the ability to start building a digital twin of your rail network, which can then be connected into sensor assets to build a live-time picture of the state of the network.

BBV HS2 project
Man in a hardhat and safety vest inspecting railroad track


The delivery of rail asset management and maintenance is typically the function of AECs (Architecture, Engineering and Construction firms). There are often many AECs working on the same network doing different parts of the process.  Coordinating this work can be challenging, and optimising it to avoid clashes and reduce disruption is a key challenge for any rail network operator. 

Esri works with AECs helping deliver the tools necessary for providing these asset management services and upgrade design plans. Esri’s ArcGIS system offers a unique capability to deliver collaboration between rail operators and AECs, through a system called distributed or partnered collaboration. Each party can be responsible for managing their own geographic data, maps, apps and plans, and can securely share these with other organisations and the public.

National Highways


ProRail improves transportation infrastructure

ProRail's digital twin identifies the minimum amount of track closures needed to conduct maintenance safely to keep its network moving.

Read the case study

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