Bentley Descartes and Hybrid 3D Models Boost Productivity and ROI for Britains Network Rail

User Quote:

  • John Nolan, CAD manager at Network Rail, said, Bentley Descartes ability to create scalable terrain models now allows us to create and manage terrain models with hundreds of millions of points. With its fast scalable terrain model manipulation and very powerful modeling tools, Bentley Descartes allows us to integrate point clouds and engineering data into intelligent hybrid models.

This media brief describes how rail owner-operator Network Rail used Bentley Descartes to create a hybrid 3D model of the entire Great Western Rail Electrification Program by combining survey and engineering data.

Bentley Descartes provides for the visualization, management, and processing of fundamental data types used in infrastructure projects, including point clouds, scalable digital terrain models, and raster files. The software integrates all of this data into streamlined information modeling workflows. More specifically, Bentley Descartes enables users to enrich point clouds and to extract linear features (such as tunnels, rails, and breaklines), as well as very large terrain models and complex geometry (such as tunnel alignments and electricity transmission lines) directly in and from their information modeling environments. This enables users like Network Rail to derive more value from that data.

Charged with designing overhead line equipment for 1,000 kilometers of single-track railway between London and Cardiff, Wales, Network Rail used Bentley Descartes to merge point clouds, scalable digital terrain models, and raster files with the consultants design models to create a hybrid 3D model of the entire project.

Benefits to Network Rail

The hybrid 3D model provided Network Rail with a number of benefits, including:

  • improved collaboration The model was used to streamline the interaction between design consultants and contractors by enabling the coordination in a 3D environment of all the designs from design consultants.

  • increased value from the data The 3D model was leveraged across the lifecycle of the rail infrastructure, which supported better decisions that resulted in more reliable, efficient, and sustainable infrastructure. In this project, not only did the information model support design review by providing efficient 3D visualization of the designs, including all engineering intelligence, but it also provided a unique environment to simulate construction together with 4D animations. Lastly, the model will support Network Rails longer-term asset management program by providing a live 3D map that indexes and references asset documentation.

  • Increased productivity Bentley Descartes allowed the scalable terrain model to be created 10 times faster, and tunnel modeling was improved by a factor of three.

About Bentley Systems, Incorporated

Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. Additional information about Bentley is available at and in Bentleys annual report.

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