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Company Innovation of the Year: Winner

Winner: Thomson Ecology – TIM Thomson Interactive Mapping

All of the finalists in this category are pushing the boundaries in their fields and striving to ensure their businesses lead the way by using technology to improve efficiency, productivity and safety.

But Thomson Ecology’s data mapping system, Thomson Interactive Mapping, is “truly game-changing”, the judges said – both for the company and its clients.

Environmental consultancy Thomson Ecology provides a range of services, from surveys and impact assessments to mitigation management and ecological contracting.

By putting ecological data at the heart of its business and designing a user-friendly platform to collect, maintain and share that data, Thomson Ecology is changing the way its people do their jobs and making it easier for clients to access, understand and respond to that data.

Surveyors each have a mobile mapper that allows them to collect and upload data instantly, which allows ecologists to see all of the data as it is collected and discuss potential problems with their clients to find a resolution quickly.

“Thomson Ecology turns data into usable management information that makes it easier for clients and contractors to do their jobs”

Judges’ comment

The data can then be accessed by clients and project teams through secure websites in a user-friendly format, making the jobs of clients and contractors easier.

All of the data is physically mapped and presented interactively, with photographs, documents, reports, health and safety risk assessments and contact details for landowners, all for clients to view and access when they need it.

The judges were impressed by the benefits TIM is bringing to the construction industry, saying: “Thomson Ecology turns data into usable management information that makes it easier for clients and contractors to do their jobs.”

The innovation was driven by internal cost savings that could be made when surveying and collecting records. It has not only achieved efficiencies, but also won more work for the consultancy.

Thomson Ecology implemented TIM for Network Rail on its east-west rail reinstatement between Oxford and Bedford.  

It was used to plan an efficient survey programme, conduct risk assessments and identify landowners for the project team.

The system also highlighted areas of ecological constraint for the vegetation clearance contractors and allowed them to pinpoint places where they needed to be briefed by ecologists to mitigate risk.

Following the project, Network Rail awarded Thomson Ecology a new vegetation clearance contract.

Thomson Ecology spends around 6 per cent of its turnover on innovation, and the company is determined to continue leading in its field by keeping data and technology at the centre of its business.

It is currently exploring how to make TIM compatible with Level 3 and Level 4 building information modelling, so that the data can be used throughout the duration of projects and beyond for the long-term mapping and management of ecology.

The firm is also looking into developing an app so its technology can be used on mobile phones, as well as on tablets and laptops.

The judges said: “The company shows leadership in the field of environmental impact assessments and is taking steps to lead development from EIA into BIM.”

Highly Commended: London Underground – Concrete Bursting

Underneath the capital, London Underground’s track delivery unit has a four-hour window to replace sections of track by breaking out large areas of the concrete track base, then setting the new track in fresh concrete.

Using traditional methods, workers were at risk of hand-arm vibration, silica dust and noise.

However, by investing in concrete bursting – which involves drilling a core hole and inserting a hydraulic burster unit to crack the concrete from the inside – it has significantly improved productivity and reduced safety risks.

The judges were impressed by LU’s commitment to adapting existing technology to the constraints of working across the deep tube network and ensuring its successful implementation in a traditionally conservative environment.


Aggregate Industries UK – Non Tipping Trucks

Catsurveys Group – Mobile Ground Penetrating Radar (MGPR) synchronised with corrected GPS (Global Positioning System)

Costain – The Costain Way

J Murphy & Sons – Murphy Innovation Model

NBS – NBS BIM Object Standard

SGN – CISBOT and Robotics, ground-breaking in every sense

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