ProRail is responsible for the management of the Dutch railroad infrastructure. Providing information about the railways is part of this management task. Among other things, ProRail supplies the information with which the timetable is made and the part of the Basisregistratie Grootschalige Topografie (Base Register of Large Scale Topography) that is located around and on the track.

The need

Information about the function of an object, its geographical location and its physical condition arrive at different departments at different times and through different channels. This has created separate databases with, for the discipline concerned, coherent and correct data. Project Naiade faces the challenge of linking all this information together and bringing it into a central system. From this source system, all customers should be able to be served. Tensing was asked to participate in this project by contributing FME expertise. 

The solution

The core of the Naiade project is the conversion, transformation and harmonization of many different data streams with almost as many different exchange formats. This is an area par excellence where the qualities of FME can be used very efficiently. With FME, virtually any existing file format can be converted to generic objects. These objects can then be used to build a new data structure. Naiade in a nutshell.

Within the Naiade project we work with an Agile / Scrum methodology. Agile means agile and FME facilitates this agility. A solution can start as a sketch to clarify the problem. Step by step, modules with functionality emerge from this, which together provide the path through which the data flows from source to target.


An FME solution is built from standard components that have themselves been extensively tested. Testing the functionality built with FME is therefore primarily testing whether these various components are configured and connected in such a way that they deliver the output desired each time. For project Naiade, all logical building blocks of the conversion process are automatically tested for correct operation. In addition, the produced data file is subjected to extensive automated validation.

The results

The Naiade project, with its background in railroad history, places great value on clearly structured and documented solutions. A process should be long-lasting and easily transferable to others. Just as a well-written code reads like a book, a well-designed piece of FME functionality looks like a flowchart. With project Naiade, a multitude of self-developed data transformation processes are replaced by FME. An easy to maintain standard tool set for data transformation, which has proven itself amply over the past decades.

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