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Avanquest Enables Emergency 3G Access to Edinburgh’s Critical Drain Records

This puts the Council in a good position to comply with the recommendation in the Pitt Report on the UK's flooding problems (published in June 2008) – that Local authorities must take a stronger overall lead on flooding in their area and should prepare definitive electronic maps of all drainage, ditches and streams, making it clear who is responsible for maintaining them.

These recommendations will require a document management system to achieve!

With an Avanquest solution already in place, Edinburgh expects to be able to comply with the Pitt review recommendations within a few months.

In 2007 the City of Edinburgh Council purchased Captaris Alchemy with the Alchemy Web module from Avanquest Solutions. The original challenge was to prevent any further wear and tear to the historical drainage records by putting them into electronic format and making them available online to the public.

Following a joint project between Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Water, drainage records from 1875 to 1950 were captured, indexed and converted into electronic documents which are stored within the Alchemy document management system.

Phase 2 of the project will see a further 80,000 records placed online covering the period 1950-2000

New drainage documents are automatically posted directly to the Council’s web site for Building Standards, making them directly available to the public from any web enabled device or with 3G technology. The new online database contains 110,000 individual records.

The Alchemy server is hosted by Avanquest who provide Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for the Council. This meant that the Alchemy application could be implemented swiftly without impacting the existing internal IT arrangements.

From the Council web site, users are able to seamlessly navigate directly to the hosted web site and access records on the Alchemy server.

Further wear and tear to the original historic documents - from constant flipping, photocopying and faxing – has been halted, preserving them for posterity; access to documents has been improved and clerical time saved.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, Executive Member for Finance and Resources said: “The unique records really are vital to the people of Edinburgh and it would have been disastrous to lose them. Meticulous indexing and scanning means that contractors, surveyors, architects and the wider public can access information quickly and with minimum hassle.”

Alchemy has proved so successful that the costs of document scanning, indexing and implementing Alchemy was recovered as soon as the system went live.

The full case study can be viewed on the Avanquest web site at

Notes to Editors:
Avanquest and Edinburgh City Council are both available for interview.


Press Information
Alison Hall
Tel: 01752 241464
Mobile: 07500 012122

Tel: 01962 835053

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