In October 2011, Indian Railways partnered with IIT Kanpur for the launch of SIMRAN project (SIMRAN stands for Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation) that involved digital mapping of stations. The Rs. 100 crores project was meant to enable passengers to know the exact position of a train via GPS based solutions.
The project was under pilot with several trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi and was integrated with Google maps; but the project has now been shut down owing to lack of funds (site: simran.in, first reported by OnlyGizmos).
From our earlier coverage:
The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the technology arm of the Indian Railways, has developed a GPS-based solution with help of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which can provide exact location of a train with an accuracy of 10 metres, and latency of 2 minutes, on a real-time basis. Passengers may also be available to see real-time locations, as CRIS has integrated the GPS app with Google maps. ISRO’s INSAT-3C satellite will aid in location of moving trains. The GPS system can give an accuracy of about 10 metres, with a lag of about 2 minutes. However, CRIS aims to shorten the distance to about 3 metres, the average distance between two gauge lines, a critical factor that can prevent accidents if a train on another line is derailing.
IIT Kanpur, in a very candid manner has blamed the lack of funds for the current status of the project (text: “Due to non availability of funds (from Indian Railways) we are unable to maintain this site any further. SMS Service is also closed.”).
Update: It’s quite strange that the site is functioning normal now, though the screenshot (above) clearly shows that something has gone wrong between IIT Kanpur and Indian Railways.