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Let “ERV” Do It: An Engineering Records Viewing and Management System

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The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has significant responsibilities for tracking the location and condition of its infrastructure assets. Consequently, there is a high level of engineering drawing and map usage by PWD. During the development of its Geographic Information System (GIS) Strategic Plan, PWD identified the need to preserve and protect paper maps and drawings spanning 140 years, and also to streamline access to these important documents. In fact, the Plan identified that access to record drawings was a more timely need than the conversion of all its facilities into a more traditional GIS. To accomplish this need a raster-imaging project was initiated which involves scanning the hardcopy data sources and indexing them for easy retrieval using a web-based GIS.

Although the raster-imaging project is the primary topic of this presentation, significant time is given to the Intranet based application that allows PWD employees to quickly identify and view the scanned maps and drawings. Using a browser-based GIS application, documents are retrieved by entering a street or intersection location or zooming in to various street segments through a map of the City. Users can then view, mark up, print, and e-mail the records as needed. A demonstration of the application is included in the presentation.

This project also triggered the need for PWD to reengineer its processes for the creation and maintenance of record drawings. Tools were developed to support this need and will be discussed in conjunction with the access software. An unanticipated, but fully appreciated benefit of the raster-imaging project is the easier transition for the facility data conversion, which is presently underway.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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