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How Indian Railways is using Indshine for Drone Mapping?

Objective: Indian Railways is to construct a third railway line between Bina and Lalitpur to reduce congestion and rail delays in between the two stations.

An overview of the distance between Bina-Lalitpur stations on Indshine


Northern Central Railways (NCR) division of Indian Railways has recently taken a project to conduct drone mapping survey and construct a 3rd railway line from Bina to Lalitpur, distanced 90 km. Currently, the station already has two existing railway lines and the third line is proposed facilitating the existing two. Drone mapping is conducted for the inspection of the area and the deliverables which include orthomosaics and Digital Surface Model(DSM) are being utilized to the fullest on Indshine.

Atul Sinha a senior Government Officer at Indian Railways agreed to spoke to me about the value addition Indshine, a cloud drone platform is adding to the drone mapping.

Visualization of Digital Surface Model (DSM) on cloud.

1. Easy visualisation of the orthomosaics and DSM on top of each other (through layers) for effective decision making.

Atul says, Indshine is the only platform that provides him visualization of DSM on the cloud. Giving a holistic insight into the value addition the feature he adds many might not be able to guess the value of this feature. For the Bina- Lalitpur project, we are working on orthomosaics and DSM that are shared with us on cloud. Wherein orthomosaics provide me latitude and longitude coordinates, with DSM I also have the knowledge of the elevation of that point.

Transparency control of different digitized Layers.

2. The transparency of the layers could be further controlled making the two maps visualised one the top of other.

The best value of cloud-hosted DSM is the transparency control which provides us with the knowledge of what’s underneath. The knowledge of land topography underneath DSM is realised best in the case of a tunnel underneath. Here, the DSM and othromosaic together give me the XYZ coordinates along with that I can also visualize the tunnel rather than making guess.

More on Transparency Control

Let me add specific problems that transparency solves :

  1. Georeference

Controlling transparency is helpful in aligning the Orthomosaics and DSMs maps in reference to the base Google map.

2. Digitization of the layer

It is of great help in digitization of the layer. It allows marking different assets in different layers, at the same time providing visualization to those layers that can be viewed together or separately. For instance, in the map of a digitized city, you could see different sectors, transmission towers, water bodies both together and separately by controlling the transparency of the layer on which they’re marked.

3. Using digitization tools for marking attributes on the maps.

Atul says, my team digitizes roads and bridges with the line tool and also leaves a description about it for other team members to see.

Polygon tool comes handy for marking the problematic area and raising issues, for instance, the encroachment by the dwellers crossing the Right Of Way (ROW) was marked and shared with the concerned authority for the respective follow-up and update on the raised issue.

We are using Location marking tool for marking assets such as various bridge and level crossings on the map.

Marking measurement of bridge and level crossings is easy with the measure tool.

More on Tools

The tools can also be used form marking annotation, by marking prominent landmarks you can add annotations on the maps. For instance, Atul used the tools for annotating prominent bridges, Daura station in Bina-Lalitpur project that is used as the reference point for the construction progress around it.

4. Easy collaboration with the team for collectively working on the maps.

The team is most benefitted by using Indshine, the people on-site and the ones sitting in the office work on the maps together. This new system is keeping everybody updated while maintaining complete transparency about the progress.

5. Easy accessibility from any place at any time to create issues on the maps.

Since the construction data of Bina- Lalitpur project is hosted on cloud I can open it on my phone while visiting the site and create issues for others to take follow-ups. At the same time, I can also open it on my laptop when in a meeting with other stakeholders, adds Atul.

Tools to be Soon Available

New tools to be soon added on Indshine

Indshine, for now, is on beta phase, soon more digitization and annotation tools will be made available on the platform.

1. Point tool for marking trees or poles

2. Line tool for marking roads

3. Polygon tool for marking buildings in the area

4. Measure tool is for marking the measurement on the map

5. Area tool for marking a particular area

6. Value Tool is for the elevation

7. Elevation Tool for elevation profile along a line

8. Volume Tool is for knowing volume

9. Comment if for issue creation

For instance, If I want to know the number of buildings in the area I will 1st make a Layer then use Polygon tool to mark buildings, if I want to mark trees in the area I will 1st make a Layer then use Point tool for marking trees, if I want to mark roads in the area I will 1st make a Layer use Line tool to mark roads.

To mark prominent landmarks that will be used as reference points for the construction progress in the area I will mark Annotations.

In case I locate a concern in a particular area, for instance, illegal encroachment I will create/raise an Issue and allow comments on it.

PROBLEMS solved for Indian Railways

Doubling of Railway tracks brings on many challenges, Indshine helped Indian Railways by providing Easy visualization of data, Easy accessibility by eliminating hardware limitations, Knowing ROW to figure out encroachment and raising an issue for subsequent follow-ups, and Digitization of the data. The solutions help Atul Sinha and his team to make the best use of maps through collaborative analysis.

Wondering about the next story? It will be up the next Wednesday. What it would be about? I’ll drop a hint like last time; it is on maintaining an online portfolio of your drone projects. Follow the publication to get the notifications! Also, benefit from the shared public projects on Indshine that you don’t have to log in to see and contribute to get yourself noticed among industry people.



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Maitri Dwivedi

I put words to ideas, interested in functional products, consumer psychology, forms of human articulation, design, and art.