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Inter-rater reliability in determining the types of vegetation on railway trackbeds

Nyberg, Roger G.; Yella, Siril; Gupta, Narendra K; Dougherty, Mark


Roger G. Nyberg

Siril Yella

Narendra K Gupta

Mark Dougherty


Jianyong Wang

Wojciech Cellary

Dingding Wang

Hua Wang

Shu-Ching Chen

Tao Li

Yanchun Zhang


Vegetation growing on railway trackbeds and embankments can present several potential problems. Consequently, such vegetation is controlled through various maintenance procedures. In order to investigate the extent of maintenance needed, one of the first steps in any maintenance procedure is to monitor or inspect the railway section in question. Monitoring is often carried out manually by sending out inspectors or by watching recorded video clips of the section in question. To facilitate maintenance planning, the ability to assess the extent of vegetation becomes important. This paper investigates the reliability of human assessments of vegetation on railway trackbeds.

In this study, five maintenance engineers made independent visual estimates of vegetation cover and counted the number of plant clusters from images.

The test results showed an inconsistency between the raters when it came to visually estimating plant cover and counting plant clusters. The results showed that caution should be exercised when interpreting individual raters’ assessments of vegetation.


Nyberg, R. G., Yella, S., Gupta, N. K., & Dougherty, M. (2015). Inter-rater reliability in determining the types of vegetation on railway trackbeds. In J. Wang, W. Cellary, D. Wang, H. Wang, S. Chen, T. Li, & Y. Zhang (Eds.), Web Information Systems Engineering – WISE 2015 (379-390).

Conference Name International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering
Conference Location Springer International Publishing
Start Date Nov 1, 2015
End Date Nov 3, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 18, 2015
Publication Date Dec 18, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2015
Electronic ISSN 1611-3349
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9419
Pages 379-390
Series Title Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Series Number 9419
Series ISSN 0302-9743
Book Title Web Information Systems Engineering – WISE 2015
ISBN 978-3-319-26186-7
Keywords Vegetation; railway track maintenance; human assessment;
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