Japanese large-scale railway GIS based on SuperMap


Japan is a country with robust railway traffic system, where the light-track trolleys, subways, Shinkansen bullet trains are widely dispersed, and connect the cities to villages. In order to maintain the daily operation of the public traffic, and manage various railway instruments more efficiently, the largest railway corporation in Japan, the JR east Japan group decides to develop a series of railway geographic information systems. This system described in this article is one of the foundation systems, and is used to manage all the railroad facilities all around Japan. It will be used by the directorial center and the subsidiaries of the JR east Japan group. Not only the data quantities of this system is huge massive, but also the quality and performance requirements are strict. Only all the aspects, such as the functionality, interface, data, performance etc. are up to the requirement, can it apply to the actually work.

Structure of the system

JR railway GIS is mainly used to be published via Internet/Intranet, and the large-scale database client will be installed on sever-side to provide browser, so that it can be accessed directly. According to the difference in network bandwidth used, this system provides two types of network structure, that is, two corresponding versions to apply to different network conditions of the users. In this way, the user can access this system by typing the Login account and password anywhere in or out of the company. One is the B/S structure (the version based on SuperMap IS 2003 template, and will be called IS version for short hereinafter), which is used to publish the data and maps. It applies to the exterior internet and interior intranet, and its superiority will be shown especially when the bandwidth of the network is narrow. The other is C/S structure (the version based on SuperMap Objects 2003, and will be called OCX version hereinafter). It applies to the interior intranet with broad bandwidth, and can be used to browse and edit the map. These two network structures can be integrated and work together and can also make use of the same database.

The diagram of the structure of the IS version, from which we can see the IS version uses MS IIS and SuperMap IS as the engine, responds to the request of the client and accesses the background Oracle database. This structure can penetrate through the firewall, and applies to both internet and intranet. 

This figure shows the diagram of the structure of the OCX version. This version encapsulates a railway GIS control based on SuperMap Objects 2003 using VB programming language. The control runs on the client browser, and accesses the Oracle database on the server directly via intranet, special line network or VPN.

Functionalities and interface of the system

The common functionality of the IS version and OCX version includes: map display (zooming in, zooming out, panning, selecting by point, previous view, next view, printing map etc.), labeling, searching (facilities, miles and residences), measuring distance and area, map rotation, overview map, accessing statistics, data editing, system management (user management and system log).
As the OCX version will be used on interior management, more functions are designed for it, and its exclusive functions include: automatically continuous panning, setting scale, system management (map updating and map operation statistics), buffer analysis, map copy, layout and printing and so forth.

This figure shows the map editing and facility searching interface of the IS version.

This figure shows the system interface of the IS version and on the interface a vector map is displayed.

This figure shows the interface of labeling, miles searching and residence searching functions.

This figure shows the interface of user management, user information editing and map updating functions.


This system is the first period of this project, and focuses on the capital circle. The later periods of the project will process data with larger extent. The whole data volume of the first period of the project is about 170 GB, when if is stored in Oracle database using SuperMap engine, the disk space of the server it occupies is 14.2GB, and the whole compression ratio of the vector data is 92%. After the server-side of the system is configured on a test publication server (CPU is Pentium 1GB, the memory is 2GB, and SCSI hard disk) and another development server (CPU is Xeon (TM) 2.4GB, the memory is 1GB, and IDE hard disk), the system is tested by multiple client computers in or out the company. The result shows, in any scale and any region extent, the refresh time of the map is less than 2 seconds, only under very scarce situations (such as the web is busy) does it reach 3 seconds. Then this system is transferred to the actual work server of JR east Japan group, and the speed is ideal, and can meet the operation requirements of the huge railway system management of JR east Japan group.

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The Thank you letter from Japan Railway Bureau: