Geograma and the digitisation of road networks 

Geograma, immersed in the digitisation of road networks

At Geograma, we are in the final stages of an R&D&I project based on the design and development of a BIM modelling service of the current state of road infrastructures. An I-D+I project financed by the Provincial Council of Alava through its Alava Innova programme. We tell you about it in this article.

Digitising our roads is a fundamental step to improve their maintenance, as well as to ideally manage mobility in the area. This work will result in smoother and safer journeys, for the greater comfort and peace of mind of drivers and the Administrations that have to look after them.

In this sense, Geograma has a lot to say because of the solutions and experience it can provide in all of this. These qualities made us part of a project of the Provincial Council of Alava for the creation of a digitalisation service of the road network of its territory by means of BIM modelling and Mobile Mapping.

According to Juan Miguel Álvarez, our Engineering Manager:

“This project has allowed us to develop a service aimed at engineering companies and road infrastructure management administrations to resolve the digitisation of roads and digital transformation, incorporating BIM methodology into road management”.

For engineering companies and governments, this project brings advantages such as:

  • Reduce resources and means for the design, construction and maintenance of road infrastructure.
  • Lower costs by using mass capture methods and automatic and semi-automatic extraction of data from the data.
  • It improves the safety of workers and road users, as the capture is carried out from a vehicle.
  • It enables people with disabilities to carry out this type of work.

What is the role of BIM and GIS in road digitisation?

Recall that BIM methodology allows for streamlining and optimising various types of projects, from the construction of buildings to large engineering works, including those related to road networks.

Thanks to BIM and its collaborative nature, all the actors responsible for the project share and have access to detailed, accurate and up-to-date information on the project, thus improving decision-making and avoiding situations that slow down its development.

Within the BIM methodology, Mobile Mapping technology takes on a special role. This, with GPS, laser scanners, cameras and other innovative resources, is able to offer a representation of the environment through a cloud of points that have their corresponding GIS coding.

For all this, the necessary equipment is suitably placed on a vehicle or any other mobile platform that suits the needs of the project.

Geograma and the digitisation of road networks with BIM

What challenges this project presented to us

In meeting this challenge, we had to respond to a set of challenges that can be summarised in the following list:

  • Resolve the knowledge of the current state of the road infrastructure for the engineering companies that carry out BIM projects, as currently they start from partial information that causes inaccuracies.
  • To have a reference BIM in order to be able to insert other BIM projects carried out by third parties for the detection of interferences.
  • Define a BIM methodology applied to roads, which will represent a major new advance in BIM methodology in civil engineering.
  • Use point clouds 50 times denser and 10 times more accurate than in other projects.
  • Develop much more than a tool. That is, to create a service with a workflow that combines existing equipment and tools on the market, but which must be correctly configured, managed and implemented.

Geograma and its experience in road digitisation

There is no doubt that BIM and Mobile Mapping are highly valuable options when it comes to digitising road networks, as considered by the Provincial Councils of Barcelona and the Provinces of Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, as well as the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

A challenge to which Geograma has already provided a solution on numerous occasions, such as when we carried out the planimetric survey of more than 130 kilometres of roads in Malta or when we completed the mapping of Donostia – San Sebastián with more than 400 kilometres of its urban fabric.

An experience that aroused the interest of the Provincial Council of Alava, as it is also arousing the interest of other institutions at a national level. We hope to talk to you in the not too distant future about our role in other initiatives like this one.