RKB: a knowledge base to support research documentation, data, GIS communications and data for a major rail freight project: making large scale freight and other transport data accessible, explorable and usable

This issue was addressed by Napier University Edinburgh to meet operational requirements for ReOrient: a major EU FW6 project on railway integration and barriers to railway integration: this demands a wide range of new and existing data and documents to be brought together in a immediately usable, downloadable and searchable form, plus data exploration and thematic map forms of examination to bring the costs and time required to access anduse such information into the operational domain and restricted timetableof a short two year project. This meant that the largest datasets on freight and transport in the EU (as well as all the new ones collected in reorient) had to be rapidly accessible, explorable and usable and as a result their inclusion in the RKB would be perhaps the most comprehensively documented and usable archive for data yet available. This was indeed the goal,and the one this paper is designed to show is achievable rapidly and effectively even for small units. The Knowledge Transfer aspects are also extremely important. The RKB had to telescope the time and effort overheads ofmaking complex transport datasets. This is illustrated in the present paper by the range of analysis, access, time series diagrams, graphs, thematic mapping origin destination matrix displays, desire line mappings and many other tools normally only accessible after the time consuming heavy lifting of securing a dataset, setting it up, understanding it, loading it into a specialised analysis system and producing special maps and diagrams tocommunicate the results. Furthermore, the GIS tools needed to be used to manage and standardise the input of many subcontractors collecting data soa vector oriented network editor and data collection support system was needed and implemented. The RKB has all these tools inbuilt so that the process of data set search, identification exploration and visual and tabularand regression analyses are all part of the same access session. This is one area where the productivity issues really benefit, and the reductions in user overheads in making use of data sets are cut back to an absolute minimum. The RKB is presented not only as a multidimensional repository, but also as a high level productivity tool designed for globally distributedresearchers, and supporting them with tailored tools as well as visualisation and data exploration and documentation. Transport has long needed such a system, not only to make effective use of what already exists but alsoto raise the productivity and speed of progress of the research and projects undertaken in this increasingly complex domain. The RKB shows that it is a promise that can be made and kept. For the covering abstract see ITRDE137145.

  • Authors:
    • WIGAN, M
  • Publication Date: 2007


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01100039
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: May 27 2008 9:30AM