• BNSF Starts GIS Project

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by Jeff Smith
Topeka Capital Journal
Railroad mapping project adds 100 jobs in Topeka for one year

Railroads have run into that difficult situation over time as they struggled to work with maps created as early as the 1800s that had to be updated by hand. As a result, documents in different departments don’t agree on what land is theirs.

Topeka’s Bartlett & West is moving those records into the 21st century, in what the company called one of its largest projects ever. Over the next year, 100 temporary employees, most of them from eastern Kansas, will convert maps of 32,000 miles of BNSF Railway Co. track and the railroad’s land possessions along it into a geographic information system.

GIS creates interactive maps that can be used to get directions or look up information about a particular property. When you turn on the global positioning system in your car to plan your vacation route, the location of the device in your car is compared to a GIS, producing a generally accurate representation of your surroundings.

Doug Morrison, Bartlett & West’s railroad division director, said BNSF wants the system to be ready in one year, so Bartlett & West hired 100 temporary employees working two shifts. Normally, a project of this scale would take three to five years, he said.