15.1 Geo-data relating to the incident location and access points

The measure refers to information sharing between the IM and RU and other responders focused on the purpose of arriving at the site quickly and the response process and the allocation of ad hoc / on the fly tasks.

Information sharing between the IM and RU and between the IM and other responders, in particular the police and fire brigade focuses on two main areas:

(1) Information sharing for the purpose of arriving at the site.
Sharing of geographical information is central, as it touches upon two factors that are critical to the first responders’ speed of response: the precise incident location, and reaching track access points.

  • Incident location.
    IMs   identify the location of a line of route incident using e.g. a track number and specifying the kilometre/mileage along the track. Incidents at specific locations such as stations may be identified by IMs   or RUs   by naming the stations. The identification of locations, particularly in ‘crowded’ urban areas may be given based on a predefined system finalised in advance with the responders, e.g. postcode or city map grid references.
    If geo location information is provided to identify the incident location, it must be translated into city maps – if in the city limits; or into topographic maps - if on open track. The use of off-the-shelf GIS   software or tools such as Google Earth (earth.google.com), to which this information is transferred, helps IMs   / RUs   provide first responders with geo location information that they can easily understand. The survey conducted within the framework of this research revealed that railway police have access to these GIS   software, whether through purchase of off-the-shelf software or via a Google Earth based platform. However municipal police, in some cases, do not have access to such tools.
  • Reaching track access points.
    Reaching the incident site quickly is critical to an effective response. As access to the infrastructure is possible only at certain track access points (due to safety considerations, the presence of a fence, and physical features such as cuttings). IMs   must relay, or make available access to, map based information on the track access points to the responders (police, fire brigade, EMS  ) to ensure they can identify the precise location. As with incident site information, off the shelf software or the conversion of geo location information using platforms such as Google Earth are essential tools for sharing geo location information and transmitting information that enables arrival at the site without unnecessary delay.

(2) Information sharing about the response process and about the allocation of ad hoc / on the fly tasks.
Information sharing about the response process touches upon two central elements:

  • Sharing alphanumeric information about the incident. Enabling common access by responders and IMs  /RUs   to relevant alphanumeric data is an extremely complex issue especially from a procedural point of view, as it requires all the responders to utilise information management solutions that operate on the same platform, or use standard protocols. This may require them to issue compatible tenders for these platforms – which is not practicable from a technical point of view, and when taking into account organisational procurement processes. Partial solutions make use of tools such as Google Docs for this purpose.
  • Information sharing and allocation of ad hoc / on the fly tasks. The allocation of tasks enables visibility of the incident response process. For the IM & RU the process is translated into the tasks assigned to the entities.

last update: 2014-09-17 Print