We are excited to announce the completion of the initial version of our Scheme Diagram Reader tool, which has been developed in collaboration with Network Rail. Currently scheme diagrams are a main authoritative source of information on rail infrastructure, however the information shown in these diagrams must be manually re-entered into any application wishing to utilise it. The manual process of recreating infrastructure in an application can take weeks, sometimes even months. This long manual process would be a problem even if there were only one application that needed this infrastructure data, but in practise there are many such tools, resulting in considerable duplication of this large manual effort.
Our scheme diagram reader tool is aimed at addressing the above problem. The tool is capable of reading scheme diagram documents (in PDF format) to a high degree of accuracy. The extracted data is displayed along with, and linked to, the scheme diagram drawing. This allows the user to explore the results in an intuitive way to verify the accuracy of the parsing process. From the results, the user can export directly to simulator file formats, such as RSL, or produce intermediate formats, such as VCN compatible tables where no direct integration exists. There is also the capability to simply export the entire data to a multi-tabbed Excel file for further generic processing.
The tool is flexible to use, allowing selection of area(s) to read or exclude from reading, selection of the colours to process, and the meaning to associate with those colours (typically black indicates unchanged features, red are added features and green are removed features – but other colours and other interpretations can be applied). The model updates performed by the tool can be configured to create a new model, replace an area of a model, or perform, add and remove updates to an existing model.
Following successful completion and demonstration of the project, we are currently in the process of performing a two-month pilot rollout with Network Rail and the following live rollout is intended to target an initial 40-60 users.
As a means to achieve scheme plan data capture efficiencies, the tool makes an excellent start by generating huge time savings, but also has a very bright future ahead with many opportunities for further enhancement. The proposed future developments aim to improve the accuracy of the parsing, support a broader range of data export options, and widen the scope of supported diagrams by adding a capability to process scanned and hand-drawn diagrams.
For more information please get in touch.