Google Rail View?

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Baxenden Bank

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Not aware if this has been covered previously but:

Have there been any proposals to provide a 'Google Railview' for UK rail lines, similar to Streetview but covering rail lines?

Any rail industry staff want to take up the challenge?

I ask as, last week, I was doing some armchair travelling (better than being an armchair expert!) in Peru and discovered that the line from Cuzco (Poroy - outside the main city) through to Machu Picchu has been uploaded. Very interesting it was too, both from a railway aspect and for the scenery. :)

Looking at the pictures, it appears a standard Google 360 degree camera was used, mounted on a rail vehicle, rather than simply a forward facing video camera as used for many enthusiast DVD's.

Gauge restrictions will undoubtedly complicate matters in the UK, as well as higher traffic densities, but is something similar desirable / possible for the UK. I can see it being a good tool to promote scenic lines in particular.

I know British Waterways / Canals and Rivers Trust were using a backpack based camera to do a towpath 'Google canalview'. Something similar had clearly been done around Machu Picchu town. PS I'm not recommending someone from the 'Orange Army' being employed to walk all 10,000 miles of the network!

Any thoughts anyone?
 
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yorksrob

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Yes, I've often wondered whether this had been considered.

In my imagination they would fit front, back and side cameras to a class 121 bubble car and gradually cover all of the routes.

It could be useful to new drivers as part of their route learning :lol:
 

Baxenden Bank

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There are lots of route videos on youtube.

Not the same thing, generally speaking they are of a lower quality and not a 360 degree view. Interesting to watch nonetheless.

I did like the one I viewed from Ecuador. The cameraman was stood, braced with legs akimbo, on top of the train with his camera. Good shots, good train sounds (which you don't get with Google). The train came off the track, the cameraman tumbled off the train, all caught in full colour splendour! Made me chuckle (The bloke got up and walked away uninjured by the way). Riding on the top of trains in Ecuador was widespread at the time and slow speed derailments common.
 

richieb1971

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Easiest setup would be a 66 with a camera on the front. It would pull a single intermodal flat with the camera on it for the other 3 directions.

Well thats the way I would do it.
 

TheNewNo2

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I'm not sure I see the point of this - streetview is useful because it helps with directions and route planning. None of that is applicable to railways.
 

yorksrob

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I'm not sure I see the point of this - streetview is useful because it helps with directions and route planning. None of that is applicable to railways.

I'm sure not everyone who uses Streetview does so for those reasons. I use it to get the feel of a place. This could be as true for rail view.
 

Philip Phlopp

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I'm sure not everyone who uses Streetview does so for those reasons. I use it to get the feel of a place. This could be as true for rail view.

It has significant possibilities for engineering planning, identification of issues and so forth.
 

Trog

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Yes, I've often wondered whether this had been considered.

In my imagination they would fit front, back and side cameras to a class 121 bubble car and gradually cover all of the routes.

It could be useful to new drivers as part of their route learning :lol:


Sounds a bit like Omnicom, except for the rear facing camera.
 

ScotGG

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It would be bloody helpful if when 'transit' was selected rail lines become highly visible like they are for the tube and some other metro networks.

Particularly in dense urban area where many tourists visit. Barely visible some of the time.
 

Groningen

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The complete Rhätische Bahn in Switzerland is covered with Google Railview.
 

Baxenden Bank

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I'm not sure I see the point of this - streetview is useful because it helps with directions and route planning. None of that is applicable to railways.

Well, some people might use it for that purpose, and that may be the purpose Google introduced it, but many people I know use it to go 'armchair travelling', just getting the look and feel of a place you wouldn't necessarily have the time, money or inclination to visit!

The maps I use for routeplanning, Streetview I use to see where the nearest pub / chip shop / supermarket is to the station / hotel I'm staying in and whether it looks decent.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
http://www.missionroom.com/media/MissionRoom_Rail.pdf


Planning - Virtual site visits, asset management, integrate CAD & BIM data
Communication - Immersive exhibitions, Stakeholders and Tenders
Training - Risk assessment, Site induction, Process familiarisation, Driver training
Education - Virtual field trips, outreach & recruitment, multi media tool-kit

Yes, exactly. I was looking at it from a tourist / enthusiast point of view. But there would be many other potential uses I'm sure. People adapt to the technology available, hence the desire to release lots of 'public data' so people can develop 'mash-up' apps - including open map data.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The NMT had HD cameras from what I've read, sure that'd be cracking footage!

That would be a good start, but for perhaps a limited enthusiast audience (in addition to rail workers)?

London to Brighton in 4 minutes was a predecessor I suppose.

However, Google gives the 360 degree view so you can stop and look at the surrounding scenery rather than simply the track and immediate surroundings.

I had in mind the use of a self-propelled vehicle (Wickham trolley?), as seen around the world for getting staff to remote sites. Thus with a smaller loading gauge allowing for roof mounting of a camera. In the UK perhaps a road/rail pickup truck, so the camera can go on the top of the cab, or on the flat back, so that a 360 view can be obtained in a single pass. There are pictures of such a vehicle in use on the ArcelMittor (ex LAMCO) line in Liberia so the technology exists - I seem to recall track staff on the West Highland Line have access to something similar.

Perhaps such use could only be done under possession so, as stated earlier, getting the whole network done would take some considerable effort but the lesser used, more scenic lines seem a realistic possibility e.g Kyle, West Highland, and Cambrian Coast lines have a sparse service on bright sunny winter Sundays such as we had yesterday. Then again I'm sure the West Highland vehicle had 'in-cab signalling' for the radio signalling used on that line.
 
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Groningen

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Would that be the link posted five posts above yours by peterinsurrey?

Yes

Link by Rhätische Bahn > Streetview

In March 2012, Google and the Rhaetian Railway surprised the world by posting images of a railway line on Google Street View for the first time ever – the Albula/Bernina UNESCO World Heritage route.

Now the entire 384-kilometre RhB rail network can be experienced online. RhB is thus the first railway company in the world to be completely integrated into Street View on Google Maps. The panoramic images provide unique views of the RhB lines and the mountainous landscape of Graubünden.

Google and RhB aim to give millions of people the world over the opportunity to discover this fascinating route through the middle of the Swiss Alps by turning it into a virtual experience.
 

Baxenden Bank

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Yes

Link by Rhätische Bahn > Streetview

In March 2012, Google and the Rhaetian Railway surprised the world by posting images of a railway line on Google Street View for the first time ever – the Albula/Bernina UNESCO World Heritage route.

Now the entire 384-kilometre RhB rail network can be experienced online. RhB is thus the first railway company in the world to be completely integrated into Street View on Google Maps. The panoramic images provide unique views of the RhB lines and the mountainous landscape of Graubünden.

Google and RhB aim to give millions of people the world over the opportunity to discover this fascinating route through the middle of the Swiss Alps by turning it into a virtual experience.

Thanks for that. Proves it can be done. Just need someone inside the UK industry to take up the challenge. I'm sure it would be positively received and beneficial for the railways / tourism industry etc. Was there any reference to how it was organised / funded?
 

QueensCurve

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Good idea. I would love that!

Meanwhile, where units have forward facing cameras and on-train WiFi, It would be interesting to be able to access the live stream from the forward facing camera. This would make up for not being able to lean out of the window on modern trains.
 

gimmea50anyday

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I use google earth to trace former rail routes and following where they went and comparing the street view today with the historical data google posts up. It woukd be interesting to see the former stations/junctions etc from the drivers eye view today
 

40129

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I've never heard of that. Is it already used on the railway ?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


I could imagine that being quite useful.

As someone who used to work in Town Planning, I would concur with the above, Streetview got me out of several holes when I couldn't quite remember what a particular site looked like and didn't want to traipse halfway across Wales to find out
 
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