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Coupling of a road database and a geographical information system (GIS, LIS) (VSS1994/015)

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Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
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Background & Policy context

The coupling of road databases (BDR) and geographical information system (GIS/LIS) is one of the most important problems of road administration which are implementing or intending to implement a GIS and a road database. A study on coupling these systems is absolutely necessary to guarantee:

  • road specific data remain under the responsibility of the BDR,
  • information exchanges satisfy integrity rules necessary to maintain consistency in time and space of the two systems.


The present research project defines the principles of data sharing between BDR and GIS for MMS requirements.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The objectives of the study can be summarized in these few points:

  • to determine redundancies in the organization, functions and data between the database
  • road (BDR) and geographical information systems (GIS)
  • to identifier obstacles to the realization of bilateral transfers of data between BDR and GIS
  • to determine the process of handling data between BDR and GIS
  • to define modes of consultation and update
  • to proposer different architectures and demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages
  • to determine optimal architectures based on predefined criteria

The report shows that all organizations concerned with road space, for example the police, land, interested in coupling information from the BDR and GIS data to represent the road data in their geographical context. The EMS can especially enjoy GIS software processing potential.

The following functions can help road professionals in management activities maintenance:

  • Grasp data in the geo-environment: Data entry by keyboard using lists of values is sometimes cumbersome and inefficient. Defining routes, seizure and geometric profiles for example green surfaces can be performed efficiently and comfortably using the GIS software functionality.
  • Check data quality: By posting road objects directly on a representation mapping, data entry errors can be easily detected and corrected.
  • Represent on a background map: the projection of objects on a Road Map Plan facilitates
  • Communication between experts of road maintenance and municipal officials in order to optimize investments.

Developed analysis: GIS software offering topological functions that can be exploited combining the road data with the geo-context data for example to analyze the course of the road and establish the longitudinal profiles by combining the contour map of 1: 25,000 with road data. In the field of GIS, various types of components were made available to ensure interoperability among different GIS applications. 


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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