Geographic information system aids in proactive planning and maintenance of rail asset systems. The article explores the wide possibilities of incorporating GIS in the rail asset management system.

rail asset management solution

The need for an efficient and fast railway network stems from the modernization, industrial advancements, and the resulting increase in human mobility. We need a rail system that is safe, fast, punctual, and modern. This requires regular planning, an increase in network capabilities, and frequent maintenance activities.

Railway infrastructure is a critical investment and is vital to ensure the uninterrupted movement of people and goods within a country. However, the task of monitoring and maintaining the railway’s infrastructure is a challenging one. The rail asset system that includes the railway track component and other facilities requires advanced technology for managing it and to ensure that the infrastructure operates without hiccups while safeguarding the lives of the commuters.

The operational state of each component in the railway network has to be monitored frequently for safety. At the same time, authorities need to ensure that maintenance is scheduled at optimal intervals to minimize costs without compromising safety.

Recent technological advancements such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing provide the capability to collect and store data precisely and get detailed location intelligence.

Continue reading to understand rail asset management and how GIS mapping combines with the asset management activities to create an efficient and cost-effective monitoring and maintenance system for railway networks.

What is rail asset management?

The concept of rail asset management encompasses all activities that maximize the availability of the rail asset and reduce the risk in its operations. It deploys advanced technology to collect and analyze the data and initiate predictive maintenance. The rail asset management system also extends to the entire life cycle of the asset, right from design and construction to renewal and disposal.

Rail asset management is a systematic process undertaken with both short term and long term vision. GIS technology supports the asset management efforts by providing authorities with accurate geospatial information of the railway track and helps them create strategies that save time and maximizes the return of public investment.

How does GIS modernize the rail asset management system?

GIS mapping makes accurate spatial data available on various aspects such as an asset’s location and its proximity to other assets for data-driven decision-making. It provides geospatial imagery to automate and optimize rail asset management solutions.

  • Planning railway infrastructure – GIS provides insightful location data for the right planning of rail networks. Authorities can map the location of the assets accurately by considering the various factors such as speed, cost, commutation time, and reach. GIS will also facilitate the construction of the infrastructure by making real-time data available regarding the progress of the project and any deviations.
  • Predictive maintenance – The usual practice of scheduled maintenance needs to be replaced with predictive maintenance for higher operational efficiency. Accurate spatial imagery helps to identify the maintenance requirements in advance. Necessary and timely steps will stall the possibilities of accidents and ensure smooth operations.
  • Efficient workflow– Geographic information also supports efficient workflow in the railway network. It aids in accurate detection of maintenance requirements, smooth flow of construction projects, and also helps to provide efficient services to the public during their journey.
  • Better passenger information system – The right monitoring of the rail network brings punctuality with all trains running according to the scheduled time. This can provide passengers with the right information on the train schedules and also about the facilities that are available for their convenience and safety.


Effective management of the rail network is critical for uninterrupted mobility within an economy. Downtimes create bottlenecks that affect a nation’s competitiveness by causing delays and safety issues in the transport. Rail asset management software can incorporate GIS to maximize throughput and minimize disruptions.

SBL provides advanced rail asset management solutions that facilitate your asset management activities and ensures maximum ROI.