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Projects of the joint German-Austrian call 2013


|   Call 2006

Infrastructure Acquisition and 3D Virtual Integration

In the “VEI-3D” infrastructure acquisition and 3D virtual integration project, railway track sections and their surroundings are digitally reconstructed using references from various data sources.

The project focuses on highest resolution laser scan point clouds and aerial pictures which are used as a basis for the development of the virtual track routes and, if necessary, additional terrestrially recorded inventory data. The main project activities are research and development of innovative visualisation techniques which should be integrated into emergency management systems in the near future. These 3D presentation techniques should help an emergency response team to better understand the situation.

The project is being promoted by the KIRAS research programme of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). A project consortium consisting of researchers, economists and users will deal with the planned work packages. The result will be a prototype system on which potential system users can be trained in the handling of the 3D tools that have been developed.

Highest resolution laser scans and high quality aerial images build the optimal basis for the development of data structures which are visualised using 3D viewers – developed in the context of the research work of VRVis.

Due to the low flight speed required in order to get high scan density, the production of the highest resolution laser scans is best achieved from helicopters:

Flight height: 200 m; flight speed: 45 kt; corridor width: 200 m; point density: approx. 20 points per m2.

The laser scans for this project have been recorded by BEWAG Geoservice GmbH, which has the ALS (air-borne laser scan) equipment and know-how developed in the field of high-voltage cable surveying. The ALS system consists of a RIEGL LMS-Q560 full waveform-processing airborne laser scanner, an IMAR INAV_FJR-001 inertial measurement unit, a Topcon Legacy-E GPS/Glonass receiver and a CCD camera (22 MPixel) with calibrated lens for taking synchronised pictures.

In addition to these images, further photographic data was produced using aerial orthophotography. Using a Vexcel UltraCamX from MEIXNER VERMESSUNG, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Harald Meixner, and corresponding photogrammetric evaluation geo-referenced aerial images with a ground level resolution of few centimetres were obtained, processed and merged with the laser scan images.

The digital elevation and object surface models used for further processing had a minimal resolution of 50 cm, and additional orthophotography at 5 cm resolution was also available.

However, the 3D visualisation also incorporates further information that are collected in vector data formats, e.g. such as from GI systems. It is possible to overlay important data about access routes, bridges, the environment, property boundaries, cables and other safety hazards as well as associated attribute data if required. After receipt of an emergency report, this enables the operation management to gain a rapid overview of the situation, to quickly make correct decisions, and to pass on important information to rescue workers.

VRVis investigates and implements new technologies in conjunction with ÖBB-Infrastruktur Bau AG and ÖBB Infrastruktur Betrieb AG, in order to be able to provide operations centres with relevant information about an application location, including the three dimensional situation and as many details as possible in the case of a disaster.

A virtual model of a location, which is comparable to historic military sandbox games, but enriched with additional visualizations of all visible and invisible surrounding realities (ducts, conduits, roads, population density, and so on), including interaction with the model (e.g. taking measurements), allows command and control to immediately take the right measures in order to efficiently support and prepare all units even before reaching the site of accident or catastrophe.

The virtual site model therefore helps to use the decisive first minutes following an incident and take the right measures, to save lives in the best possible ways, and to avert harm from human beings as well as goods, or to at least minimize them.

VRVis and ÖBB have been collaborating in the field of visualisation since 2006. Several research projects are currently in progress, which concern the visualisation of data that are relevant to ÖBB (e.g. 3D reconstruction of railway routes and their surroundings, designing interfaces/services on the basis of EU standards for this field).


ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG

Nordbahnstraße 50

1020 Wien, Österreich

Ing. Friedrich Brimmer, Project Manager


VRVis-Zentrum für Virtual und Visualisierung-Forschungs GmbH

Donau-City-Strasse 1

1220 Wien, Österreich

DI Dr. Gerd Hesina, Senior Researcher

Head of Real-Time Rendering Group


VRVis - Fast Facts:

VRVis is one of the leading research institutions in Europe in the fields of rendering and visualisation. The interactive representation of large quantities of data from different data sources is one of the research areas. Particularly with respect to georeferenced data, this topic is of interest for infrastructure maintainers and operators such as ÖBB Infrastruktur.