Sydney | Melbourne AUS

AGONICS selected to deliver tracks database for MTM’s new track monitoring vehicle.


Further on from our November article “Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) Embarks on Whole of Network MLS Project” we were pleased the see the new MTM track geometry vehicle, Evie, get profiled on LinkedIn as one of MTM’s “10 Innovations in 10 Weeks”.

Agonics is proud to have been selected as the tracks database supplier for the new EV120. Establishing this new, authoritative track centreline database inclusive of speed limits, crossovers and turnout topology to an absolute accuracy of 100mm has ensured the smooth commissioning of the new vehicle. After final farewells to the EM100/IEV100 this is an exciting new era for Victoria’s track geometry and condition reporting professionals.

AGONICS recently became a member of ARA

JULY 2022

Parallels between GPS and LiDAR adoption by industry

JUNE 2022

As LiDAR becomes more important in day to day rail operations and maintenance we asked Agonics Director, David Presley, about the parallels between the historical adoption of GPS and the current adoption of LiDAR by industry. 

This is what he had to say:

“I’d say that just as LiDAR is gradually becoming accepted by rail for use case and compliance reporting, the adoption of new GPS technology by the offshore oil and gas exploration sector last century was similarly cautious and, in some quarters, treated with scepticism”

“In the early 90’s (for the information of my colleagues at Agonics I am of course referring to the 1990’s), I worked offshore in the oil and gas sector and for many years rig and pipeline vessel navigation was required to be supported by both radio (transponder) positioning and GPS positioning.  It took several years for that industry to have confidence in the reliability and accuracy of GPS before it was accepted as the sole and primary positioning system.  We see the same cautious approach to LiDAR technology today; system calibration, control point validation within a LiDAR point cloud and manual vs LiDAR repeatability checks are necessary for the rigour of our work but also to demonstrate that the new technology can go toe to toe with traditional  manual measurements”

“I’d say that just as the raw GPS signal was, over time, able to be post-processed to achieve much higher levels of accuracy than could ever be achieved with a long rage radio transponder system, the LiDAR technology today with machine-learning feature recognition capabilities is able to take more measurements, with greater accuracy and certainty that manual measurements.  Not necessarily in all cases mind you, but nevertheless across many on-track applications that were until 10 or so years ago only done by manual means, today the application of LiDAR data by railroads is becoming pervasive.”

Lucy Davis, team member and spatial engineering undergraduate RMIT

May 2022

In order to introduce you to some of our team, we are profiling team member, Lucy Davis. We asked Lucy why she chose to work in the rail industry while studying for a degree in surveying at RMIT. This is what she had to say:

“I didn’t know much about the rail industry before I started working for Agonics and so in a way, it is something that I have fallen into. I joined Agonics because they were looking for people to work on some large mapping projects and they have a strong reputation for excellence in spatial engineering.

“I didn’t know much about the rail industry before I started working for Agonics and so in a way, it is something that I have fallen into. I joined Agonics because they were looking for people to work on some large mapping projects and they have a strong reputation for excellence in spatial engineering.

For my final year dissertation, I will pick a subject matter that relates to my work at Agonics. I feel that I am in a unique position to share some really good learnings with the student body”.

Lucy’s recent projects:

  • Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) Whole of Network LiDAR Survey
  • V/Line Whole of Network LiDAR Survey
  • Department of Transport (VIC) Bridges Study
  • SEPA Level Crossing Removal Project – EACR preparation.

TasRail Undertakes Network Wide MLS Project

May 2022

Our team has recently completed an MLS recording campaign across the TasRail network following on from a previous campaign carried out some years ago. The MLS project will give TasRail up to date imagery and LiDAR datasets across approximately 630 km of the freight network. Agonics will also be undertaking downstream processing and analysis of the datasets to deliver encroachment and vegetation clearance studies using its XERRA software, the leading LiDAR processing and analysis platform for rail engineering applications.

XERRA Cloud automates Road over Rail Bridges Investigation

February 2022

As an approved supplier of geospatial asset information to the Victorian Department of Transport, Agonics has been engaged to prepare an authoritative database of road-over-rail bridges. To do this project Agonics will leverage its extensive MLS (Mobile Laser Scanning) library across the Victorian rail network as well as its in house XERRA LiDAR cloud solution to automate the investigation as much as possible including validations against existing asset management systems. More than 300 unique bridge assets will have been identified by project completion.

Rail Deflection Tests Using Photogrammetric Methods

November 2021

Longstanding clients Coleman Rail and parent company, Acciona, approached our team with a track deflection challenge that required very accurate measurement of the rail displacement as a locomotive was driven through a project site. 

The project site encompassed more than 100km of regional track and more than 200 deflection sites were nominated by the client in concert with a parallel geotechnical investigation. Agonics worked closely with partner, Gancel, and the Geodetic Systems International (GSI) industrial photogrammetric technology to design a rail deflection process that would capture deflections at both sleeper and mid-crib locations. 

Data processing by Agonics has allowed Coleman Rail and its track consultants to calculate the track modulus at each site; this information will be used to assess the extent of work required and associated costs to lift sections of the Victorian rural rail network to a higher track class.

Two pilots studies of the Agonics deflection solution were completed at Williamstown and Wyndham Vale stabling yard utilising a range of track vehicles and under day/night conditions before embarking on the mainline scope. Once mobilised, the team negotiated a wide range of site conditions while navigating the frequent changes to COVID19 working restrictions during Victoria’s current outbreak.

Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) Embarks on Whole of Network MLS Project

November 2021

In preparation for the commissioning of a new track inspection vehicle and to realise an update to the Melbourne rail network asset inventory, MTM has partnered with Agonics to perform a whole of network MLS survey. The survey commenced in September 2020 during Melbourne’s strict midyear lockdown with the project teams implementing comprehensive COVID safe protocols. Since then we have completed recording across 880 km of complex inner city and suburban rail network and have processed what are arguably the most accurate LiDAR and imagery datasets ever recorded on the network.

Similar to our other rail network clients, the LiDAR and imagery datasets are being made available to MTM through the easy-to-use AIMS3D Viewer supporting internal projects and day to day maintenance and operations. The datasets being delivered will also play a critical role in the commissioning of a new track recording vehicle that is currently undergoing testing in Melbourne.

The new vehicle will avail of digital track centrelines produced by the MLS project so that geometry and other infrastructure defects can be accurately and repeatedly referenced in MTM’s maintenance systems. To ensure compatibility between data and systems and, most importantly measurement reporting repeatability, the track centrelines delivered by Agonics have been translated by us into the ENSCO track database that feeds localisation content to the various systems and reports generated by the IEV120. Establishing this new, authoritative track centreline database inclusive of speed limits, crossovers and turnout topology to an absolute accuracy of 100mm has ensured the smooth commissioning of the new vehicle.

Agonics Insight – Getting Actionable Information from LiDAR Data

October 2021

There is little doubt that LiDAR is playing an increasingly important role in day-to-day rail maintenance and planning. In Australia we see a strong desire amongst our rail clients to leverage LiDAR more in their business, but LiDAR datasets alone are only part of the story. We asked Agonics Technical Director, David Presley, what networks should look for in terms of integrating LiDAR into their routine maintenance practices.

“I would say that from decades working with rail clients the same basic principles apply to solving any engineering challenge. The first of these is to understand what your actual requirements are before commissioning any LiDAR survey or buying hardware to do it yourself. A common pitfall is to focus on the hardware at the expense of downstream thinking as LiDAR scanners are relatively easy to understand and compare. However, the ancillary technology such as inertial measurement devices and trajectory understanding, which are needed to inform the raw LiDAR data and allow correlation back to the track reference systems, are often not on people’s radar. We’ve seen so many examples of datasets being collected without first really understanding why or without mapping out a workflow that will take this data and solve a business problem with it.”

“The second principle I think is to not underestimate the change management needed in your organisation to leverage LiDAR successfully in day-to-day maintenance. We are beginning to see some real maturity in this space now in the industry, which is great to see.”

Amazing Structures

July 2021

We’ve been very busy of late helping our rail customers manage engineering compliance for their infrastructure assets. Occasionally we get to witness some of the amazing work of our forebears. Here are a few photos of some beautiful engineering structures in Victoria. If you need assistance with meeting PASS Assets requirements please contact our expert team.

Australia’s Longest Digital Twin

May 2021

We recently completed data collection for Australia’s longest digital twin – 9,000 km of the interstate freight network on behalf of ARTC. This has been a mammoth task requiring close collaboration among the project stakeholders. The datasets collected will go to meet the immediate and evolving requirements of ARTC projects and support the development of an ARTC GIS Model, Linear Referencing System as well as the deployment of Ellipse Mobility eWorks. To read more on the project please read this article Infrastructure Magazine: ARTC creates digital twin of entire network | Infrastructure Magazine

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

We often get asked if we utilise AI and/or Machine Learning when we analyse LiDAR and imagery. The short answer is, yes, we do, but we advise our clients to always exercise their engineering judgement in deciding what level of automation is suitable in their particular circumstances. The rail environment is complex and so, if you are interested in learning more about how we analyse imagery and LiDAR then please get in touch with us at