Challenge 8 - Obtain preliminary 3D models from a basic IFC alignment and by merging available open data sources


Description of the challenge

Railway infrastructure management companies build and maintain facilities to provide transportation services to society. Some of these assets have very long useful lives. A tunnel can last for more than 100 years, a well maintained bridge could possibly be used for up to 150 years. Tracks have a service time of up to 35 years. 

Long-lived assets require long-term documentation. Therefore, the railway sector has a high interest in open standards as proposed and developed in Open BIM initiatives.

IFC, as published by buildingSMART, is the best-known specification for providing Open BIM capabilities to building and infrastructure operators, planners and builders.

IFC 4.3, the next version of IFC, will be available soon. It introduces major enhancements to support the railway-specific infrastructure.

IFC 4.3 is used for the design of new trackside equipment as well as for the 3D description of existing equipment.

In mature networks, most of the infrastructure is already in place. For a comprehensive 3D model of the entire network, as required for innovative asset management, the existing infrastructure must be documented in the most economical way possible.

The aim of the challenge is to find out methods which will support this necessary redocumentation effort. 

A first idea is to use existing data to obtain a first preliminary 3D model based on IFC 3D alignment and link asset information found in open data sources on the Internet to the IFC 3D alignment, using standard shapes of the asset in question. Both IFC based visualization tools and alternative visualization tools can be used to view the results.


Marion Schenkwein, Finnish Transport Infrastructre Agency

Andreas Pinzenöhler, FTIA & ÖBB

Tiina Perttula, Ramboll Finland

Karin Anderson, Trafikverket

Peter Axelsson, Trafikverket

Lars Wikström, Triona

Jukka Erkkilä, Sitowise