railML® in the context of open data
As we are in the middle of the decade of digitalisation, data has become very important. A relatively new trend that now also moves into the focus of European railways is Open Data. The central idea of open data is the free availability and usability of provided information.
Various railways of different countries have created websites to make their railway data available to the public. Below you can find a selection of links:
- SNCF Réseau (France)
- Deutsche Bahn (Germany)
- ÖBB Infra (Austria)
- Swiss Federal Railways [Portal / Information Page] (Switzerland)
- Jernbaneverket (Norway)
- SŽDC (Czech Republic)
The provision of information on such portals is beneficial for further developments and especially for a productive, transnational collaboration in Europe. Problematic is however the nonexistence of a unified interface for these open data.
Example: Recently a so called Variable Infrastructure Aggregator (short VIA) was designed as a proof of concept by a railML partner. VIA uses open railway network data of Germany (DB Netz' network only) an preprocesses into a handy visualisation. If a unified interface would be available it would not only be possible to illustrate the German but also the French, Austrian, Swiss, etc. data without huge additional programming costs.
A solution to this problem is the data format railML. Pioneer in this area is Jernbanverket in Norway, who already uses railML to provide their national rail network data. With railVIVID a functional and free tool is available to visualize and validate the railML data.
Feedback from the community
This article about European railways and Open Data gave us some feedback. The idea of shared open data to improve the accessibilty of railways becomes more and more important so that you may find a enlarged selection of links below:
- Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Netherlands) [thanks to Stefan de Konink of Stichting OpenGeo]
- Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (Luxemburg) [thanks to Stefan de Konink of Stichting OpenGeo]
Do you know OpenData from other Railway Undertakings, Infrastructure Managers or Authorities? Let us know.