WG3: Geodetic Reference Systems for Traffic Guidance and Control

International Association of Geodesy
IAG Special Commission 4
Application of Geodesy to Engineering 
SC4 WG3: Geodetic Reference Systems for Traffic Guidance and Control

Chairman: Prof. Wolfgang Möhlenbrink, 
Institut für Anwendungen der Geodäsie im Bauwesen 
Universität Stuttgart 
E-mail: Wolfgang.Moehlenbrink@iagb.uni-stuttgart.de 

July 12, 1999

Geo-Information-Services for Traffic Guidance and Control - Vision of a Big Market

Land vehicle navigation units for mono- and multimodal traffic systems based on digital rail and road maps are seen as booming markets for future geo-information services. Especially car navigation systems based on standardized digital road maps provide key technology for traffic guidance and control. The emerging border crossing market (products from Japan, USA, and Europe are sold worldwide) require standardized metric and topological reference systems.

With the definition of global coordinate reference frames internationally standardized metric frameworks for car navigation systems are sufficiently accurate for vehicle navigation systems. Standardization of topological information structures in traffic networks are up to now of minor interest in IAG and contain a lot of open research areas.

Due to the changing professional cernel competences of geodesists - the classical scenario of expertise in accuracy for local, regional and global geometric networks will be changed to the picture of an information service provider for accurate complete up-to-date and in time available information with precise geometrical attributes.

Therefore the development of coherent metric and topological information frameworks in top-down manner are key requirements for the future free trade of information in geoinformatics. 

The booming market of today’s individual car navigation system will furtheron be developed towards information services based on private service providers offering and maintaining high quality traffic information for

  • actual traffic information,
  • cargo and transport operation monitoring,
  • emergency warning services,
  • intermodal traffic information systems,
  • traffic guidance and control for public authorities, especially in highly populated urban areas.

Present State of Standardization in Traffic Guidance and Control:

Geometrical reference frames for national and international traffic system operators is the reference system of WGS84. Up to now this metric reference frame is sufficient for the known operations. Standardization of topological information structures for traffic networks are developed for individual car navigation systems (geographic data file, GDF 3.0 standardization in ISO under preparation).

Independent of the developments of GDF for railroad networks a lot of national standardization activities are observed. These different standardization activities are driven by different operational requirements and are totally independent of developments in car navigation or surveying and geodesy.

A basic requirement for the future geoinformatic service market will be the common in top-down manner homogenously developed information and data structure for the free international trade of traffic related informations.

Therefore it could be seen as a future task of IAG working group „Traffic Guidance and Control" to initiate and monitor research on the following topics:

  • definition and maintainance of standardized global geometric coordinate reference
  • systems for traffic guidance and control of rail and road systems,
  • development of standardized information structures for topology of traffic networks on the basis of information structures for border-crossing traffic information services,
  • formulation of research activities leading to quality measures and criteria in individual and collective traffic information systems,
  • development and research of quality insurance procedure to traffic operating systems based on safety requirements of national and international traffic operation systems.


Installation of a IAG working group „Traffic guidance and Control" with members of industry, traffic authorities and IAG-experts with the following tasks:

  • development of topological information structures for intermodal traffic guidance systems,
  • definition of information quality requirements for traffic information services,
  • research work on information and data quality procedures for safety relevant traffic systems operations.

Today available rail and road maps are far away from an operatible status in terms of quality completeness and actuality. This could be a future market for all members of IAG.

First Meeting of the Working Group: „Traffic Guidance and Control"

IAG-Special Commission 4, Eisenstadt 1998

Geodesy for geotechnical and structural engineering could be implemented with the topic „Traffic Guidance and Control". During this working group meeting the following papers were presented:

  • Traffic Guidance and Information Systems – New Technologies for the Geoinformation Market, W. Möhlenbrink
  • Opportunities of traffic supervision and transport management systems along the Austrian section of the Danube, G.Köhler, H.Döller
  • Present State of Road Databases for Driver Information Systems and Telematics, H.Claussen, G.Vickus
  • Digital Rail networks in Germany, L.Gründig, F.Gielsdorf
  • Theory and Practice of Road Databases from the Geodetic Point of View with Respect to Austria, M.Wieser, N.Bartelme
  • Management of Various Reference Systems within a Global Reference Frame, F.Gielsdorf, L.Gründig
  • Accuracy and Quality Criteria in the Benchmark Test Task Force European Digital Road Map, R.Bettermann
  • Quality Criteria and Control for GIS Databases, W.Caspary, G.Joos
  • Comparison of ATKIS and GDF Data Structures, D.Fritsch, V.Walter.

In order to show future applications of digital mapping products in the field of traffic and trafficguidance and control application-oriented presentations were given by Möhlenbrink, Köhler and Vickus. It could be shown the operation level of standardized digital mapping products for the emerging telematic marked. Basic topological structures for traffic guidance and control are developed up to now, but there is a missing link towards modelling of operational guidance and control tasks with safety relevance in transport processes. This was underlined by Gründig for digital rail networks especially in order of topological modelling. The extension of safety relevant guidance tasks for railway operation will be a future task for topological models in the GIS-sector. 

The important application of car navigation systems on digital road map networks in Austria was given by Wieser and Bartelme.

These types of car navigation systems will be one of the user front ends for future geoinformatic information services and GIS basic data. The implementation of data base maintenance structures and data quality assurance will be an important research task for the future work in traffic guidance and control research.

The comparison of ATKIS and GDF data structures was given by Fritsch. It could be pointed out the missing link to traffic flow mapping of the existing ATKIS structures in Germany. This paper was one important example for the necessity of concentrated research towards the realtime application in traffic guidance and control as a booming market for future digital mapping products.

Bettermann and Caspary treated accuracy and quality criteria for traffic guidance and control data bases from different points of view. It could be shown really clearly the lack of existing quality criteria as safety relevant digital mapping data bases for traffic networks.

Current activities

During the last year (1998) safety philosophies of traffic guidance and control in rail and flight management were studied and basic criteria from these area are summarized by Okeke 

  • Quality Safety Criteria and Parameter in Geodetic Literature
  • A review of the Safety Criteria and Requirements of the Current Railway Operation Information Systems
  • Search and Match Algorithm
  • Map Matching Algorithms for a Vehicle Route Determination On a Digital Road Map.

This can be seen as a first step towards the definition of safety relevant politic criteria for geoinfirmation basic data for the future. 

Joos finalized his PHD-thesis titled „Zur Qualität von objektstrukturierten Geodaten". 

Besides the systematic evaluation of quality criteria for existing data bases especially the testing procedure of quality by statistical tests seems to be a first step towards quality measures and a cost/benefit aspects.

Additional Literature:

Gielsdorf, F.: „Datenmodellierung für Gleisnetze und Schaffung eines einheitlichen Raumbezugssystems"; Deutsche Geodätische Kommission, Reihe C, Nr. 491, 1997, München

Bartelme, N.: „Geoinformation und Normung – nationale und internationale Ansätze", VKI, 85., Heft 2, Wien, 1997

Walter, V.: „Zuordnung von raumbezogenen Daten am Beispiel der Datenmodelle ATKIS und GDF", Deutsche Geodätische Kommission, Reihe C, Nr. 480, München.

Members of the Working Group:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. W. Möhlenbrink
University of Stuttgart, Germany

Dr. H.Döller
TU Vienna, Austria

Prof. Dr.-Ing. L.Gründig
TU Berlin, Germany

Dipl.-Ing. H.Claussen
Tele Atlas BV, Hildesheim, Germany

Ass.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. techn. M.Wieser
TU Graz, Austria

Dr.-Ing. F.Gielsdorf
TU Berlin, Germany

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. D.Fritsch
University of Stuttgart, Germany

Dipl.-Ing. R.Bettermann
University of Stuttgart, Germany

Prof. Dr.-Ing. W.Caspary
Universität der Bundeswehr, Neubiberg, Germany

Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Bill
University of Rostock, Germany

Dipl.-Ing. G.Joos
Universität der Bundeswehr, Neubiberg, Germany.

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