Edinburgh to digitise city drains following flood warning

Edinburgh will be one of the first local authorities to comply with calls to create electronic maps of city drains following a review...

Edinburgh will be one of the first local authorities to comply with calls to create electronic maps of city drains following a review of the UK's flood defences led by Sir Michael Pitt.

The Pitt review published last week said the lack of knowledge of drainage systems was one of the critical factors in the floods in Gloucester last year.

Tim Rayner, senior conservation officer at Edinburgh City Council, said the project was aimed at preserving historic records, but had put the council in a good position to meet the Pitt recommendations and had also saved around £25,000 a year.

"Staff no longer have to spend time locating drain records for architects, contractors, and utility companies, who can now access the records online through any web-enabled device," he said.

Edinburgh has scanned and archived 110,000 drain records including ownership details dating from 1875 to 1950, and made the results available online. The project will allow the council to comply with the Pitt review recommendations within a few months.

The city council has rolled out the Captaris Alchemy document management system in 2007 in a joint project with Scottish Water to preserve the historical records. Avanquest, which is also hosting the Alchemy server, has enabled online access.

The council has scanned 80,000 records for the period from 1950 to 2000. They will be added to the archive within the next three months.

"The only gap to be closed is the period from 2000 to 2004, but there is a working group looking at how this can be done as soon as possible," he said.




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