Case study

Digitisation of document archive – we support digital transformation of the Białystok Water & Sewage company

Digitisation of almost 2 million pages of documentation, shortening the time of access to documents from several hours to several minutes as well as the analysis and supplementation of data concerning almost 3,000 km of network – these are just some of the effects of the implementation of our Electronic Document Repository system integrated with GIS at the Białystok Water & Sewage company.

The client

Wodociągi Białostockie company (Białystok Water & Sewage) operates in the field of collection, filtration and collective supply of water and sewage purification in the one of the biggest cities in Poland and neighbouring municipalities.

The main business need was to streamline the process of archival documentation management and the transformation of the document archive into a digital form. The biggest challenge was the processing of over 330 linear metres of documents and the need to update an enormous amount of data in the GIS database (pipes of the water supply network with a total length of 959.32 km, pipes of the sewage network with a total length of 2,885.73 km).

Prior to the implementation of the system, documents were only available in analogue form, which caused a number of problems:

  • it took a very long time to find the right documentation,
  • there was no information about who had the original  document,
  • documents were not always put back in the right place,
  • preparing e.g. summaries or reports from a large number of documents took a lot of time,
  • the knowledge contained in the documentation was not widely available within the company.

In addition, the potential of the GIS system was not fully exploited due to the lack of data on the network, which was contained in the archival documentation.

Our role

Sygnity’s task was to develop the GIS system and implement a system supporting the client in effective data management. The main tasks were:

  • digitalization of analogue documents (over 330 running meters of documents, i.e. almost 2 million pages of documents which is the length of almost 600 km in a straight line for A4 format),
  • implementation of electronic document repository, together with the lending module,
  • supplementing missing data in the GIS system,
  • updating the GIS system to a new version,
  • integration of GIS data with archival documentation.

As Tomasz Pruś, Project Manager at Sygnity, says:

The project combined the world of documentation with the world of spatial objects, which resulted in a very interesting system facilitating the work of many employees of the company. The project was a big logistic and technical challenge because of huge amounts of documents which we had to process and upload. The documents had to have an appropriate structure so that they could be easily searched for and linked to other objects in the company. Importantly, the project was conducted remotely due to pandemic. This presented many challenges, but the project was a complete success. A big bow to the client’s staff, who also adapted to the new situation on their side and quickly responded to the necessary changes and adjustments needed to complete the project quickly.

Selected functionalities

  • Documentation storage – easy input and description of documentation in the form of scans described with metadata facilitating subsequent searches
  • Documents grouped into folders that mimic physical folders in the archive
  • Ability to enter any metadata required by the client, describing documents, folders and files
  • Ability to enter text mapping of scan files – OCR file entry and search by content
  • Support for document search using the full text search engine and subject search engine (by all defined attributes)
  • Marking folders and documents with barcodes
  • Support for lending and returning physical documents
  • Generating exports from the list of searched documents to XLS or PDF files
  • Registering current documentation and enabling its transfer to the archive
  • Presentation of objects described in the documentation on a GIS map
  • Presentation of all documents related to an object in a GIS object
  • Searching for documents from the GIS map level

Business benefits

Reducing business risk

losing key documents (e.g. in a fire) may bring multi-million losses

Reducing access time to documents

from even several hours (the need to "manually" find data or locate a document) to a few seconds (the document is quickly found in the system)

Increased quality of the data held

the GIS system provides comprehensive information about the infrastructure held without the need to reach for archived documents

Reducing the risk of virus transmission

due to contactless (digital) transfer of documentation

Archival documentation of Białystok Water & Sewage company: