Distributed Data Gathering/Reporting System

Needs Statement

Client had a contractual obligation to provide 24-hour notification of structural defects found in railroad tracks. Client used proprietary non-destructive ultrasound technology to image and diagnose track weaknesses and deficiencies.

Major Challenges

Create an interface with a pseudo-real time test device that was not designed for computer communications. Testing is done in remote areas with limited or no communications available during testing. Testing done by non-computer literate individuals.


Advanced Decisions team of software consultants architected and implemented a cost-effective solution. After gathering the requirements from the client, rail testers and target customers, Advanced Decisions architected a multilevel system. First a notebook computer with specialized applications was created.Special attention was devoted to the Rail Tester with multiple GUI concepts tried for ease of use and accuracy before actual development. An interface program was written to gather defect location and associated data from the diagnostic device. Finally, communication software was written to package test data in customer specific files and send to a communication server located at the clients’ engineering office.

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