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NEWS

Agonics have been appointed acquisition partner to Sydney Trains for LiDAR data acquisition network-wide as part of the Sydney Trains Measurement and Inspection Digital Twin project.

January 2023

This comes on the back of successful network-scale LiDAR acquisition projects undertaken for ARTC, V/Line and Metro Trains Melbourne. We are very much looking forward to working with Sydney Trains on this ground-breaking initiative.

If you’re looking to collect LiDAR and panoramic imagery on your rail network, whether that is for infrastructure compliance or as a dilapidation survey, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts by following the button below.


Agonics launched a re-designed website

January 2023

Excited to launch our re-designed website; with a modern look and simplified navigation, our website puts the user experience first – so we can connect you to the information that you need. Visit our new projects page and learn more about our work and experience.

We’re proud of the final result.

Agonics website

Agonics participated in Ausrail Exhibition 2022 in Brisbane.

November 2022

We’ve fielded a lot of enquiries at AusRail, and it’s been great to connect with clients and friends in Brisbane. We help many different rail clients get actionable information from LiDAR datasets. If you want to talk to our experts, contact us now: enquiry@agonics.com

Agonics Exhibition Ausrail

Digital Data in Track, Infrastructure and Rollingstock Compliance, A Perspective.

November 2022

Article created by Finbar Holland / Agonics

For new rollingstock and train control projects, as well as for routine infrastructure maintenance, accurate digital data can support a shift away from manual compliance methods towards an automated, fully auditable approach.
This year, Agonics has demonstrated to a major Australian railway operator that datasets recorded at scale could be processed to produce standardised measurement reports on rail track and infrastructure across a number of different asset classes. The project formed the basis for a business case approval to move from manual inspections to automated, LiDAR based reports, thus setting the scene for safer and more cost-effective inspections.

Agonics has been at the forefront in Australia in the digitisation of rail networks and our team has digitised over 16,000 km of domestic network to date. The downstream uses of this data are manifold and have included refreshes to network asset inventories, the automation of measurement reports on track and infrastructure, kinematic clearance analyses and nose cone design support for new rollingstock, level crossing sighting distance investigations, and dilapidation surveys for pre-construction works; the list is only growing as traditional work methods come under increasing scrutiny for their cost and resource intensiveness.
It is our view that changes in work practises in rail are accelerating as the industry increases its reliance on digital datasets that accuracy describe the network in its current state.


Powerline Clearance Assessments.

October 2022

The team has been working hard on our recent project with McConnell Dowell assisting in planning an important track capacity upgrade.
The project involved an audit of the powerlines that crossed the rail corridor between Craigieburn and Wodonga – a distance of approximately 280km.


De-risking the commissioning of new track monitoring vehicles.

Article created by Finbar Holland Agonics

September 2022

New track condition monitoring vehicles are a once-in-a-generation purchase by railway operators. Their onboarding typically involves the operation of complex instrumentation and track measurement technologies that are far more advanced than the organisation’s preceding vehicle capabilities.

The testing and commissioning of such vehicles can present a range of challenges to railways in terms of correlating data from these vehicles against legacy system measurements.

Typically, new condition monitoring technologies involve measurement systems from different suppliers and often include track geometry, rail profile, overhead wire and rail wear measurement systems.

While these suppliers are all experts at what they do, the data collected by these systems needs to be reconciled to a common track centreline so that observations, faults and trends can be assessed relative to the correct track code, track class and precise network location.

To test system accuracy and repeatability a common track centreline is, therefore, required. This needs to be spatially and topologically true, up-to-date with respect to track infrastructure, and delivered in a compatible way to the vehicle’s proprietary schema.

The challenge for the railway operator is in acquiring this digital track centreline in a way that facilitates timely vehicle testing and commissioning.

With a new track condition monitoring vehicle enroute from the US, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) needed to quickly acquire a digital track centreline to support the commissioning of the new measurement systems.

Generating this track centreline database, encompassing all MTM mainline track, required expert level spatial and rail asset domain knowledge.

Australian rail mapping business, Agonics, was engaged to first capture raw GPS and inertial position data across the network and then process this data using survey systems, advanced GIS and FME software into a unique track database format, mandated by the location software onboard the new MTM vehicle, called the EV120.

The digital track centreline, generated by Agonics, used recording and processing innovations to ensure that all high order features on the network such as turnouts, signals, kilometreage posts and kilometreage inequalities were reflected in the database.

A key innovation developed by Agonics throughout the project was the extension of its XERRA LiDAR solution to enable feature extraction and survey control validation.

Whereas track geometry vehicles can sometimes take many months or even years to deploy and commission, the new MTM EV120 critical measurement systems were tested and commissioned within a relatively short four month period.


Agonics attended to the Awards Gala dinner.

September 2022

We had a fantastic night at the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Awards Gala dinner. It was wonderful to catch up with so many familiar faces, surrounded by people who love working in rail as much as we do.

Agonics Team at Gala Diner ARA
Agonics Team at Gala Diner ARA

Agonics have been shortlisted as #finalists for the “Supplier Excellence Award” category as part of the Australasian Rail Industry Award

August 2022

Awards news!! ?

We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted as #finalists for the “Supplier Excellence Award” category as part of the Australasian Rail Industry Awards.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the #Agonics team.

Fingers crossed for the final!

Finalist ARA Awards

Agonics is proud to have been selected as the tracks database supplier for the new EV120

August 2022

Congratulations to Metro Trains Melbourne on the successful commissioning of Evie!! Agonics is proud to have been selected as the tracks database supplier for the new EV120.

After final farewells to the EM100/IEV100 this is an exciting new era for Victoria’s track geometry and condition reporting professionals.

MTM
MTM EVIE

Agonics become a member of Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

July 2022

Exciting News

ARA
Agonics ARA Member

Parallels between GPS and LiDAR adoption by industry

June 2022

Article created by David Presley Agonics

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.

Lucy Davis

“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:

  • 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.

Railway Asset Mapping Tasrail
Agonics MLS Rail Survey

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.

Xerra Rail LiDAR Map
Xerra Rail LiDAR Map

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.


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.

AGONICS
Coleman Rail Deflection Testing
Agonics Rail Deflection Testing

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.

Melbourne Loop Asset Inventory
Melbourne Loop Agonics
Flinders Street Station LiDAR
Agonics Asset Mapping Flinders Street

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.

EV120 Track Recording
Agonics Track Recording
Agonics Track Centerlines Melbourne
Track Centerlines MTM

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.”

Platform Coping
Platform LiDAR Measurement
Platform Automation
XERRA Platform Measurement

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.

PASS Compliance
PASS Survey Tunnel
Agonics PASS Surveys
Tunnel PASS

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

ARTC LiDAR

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 enquiry@agonics.com