Innovation and cutting edge development
At Thomson, we have developed custom tools and applications to streamline workflows and provide a better service. Examples include
- A tool to process our arboriculture survey data into a Tree Constraints Plan
- Scripts to create bespoke standard mobile data collection layers
- A “Grassland Calculator” mobile app to assist the correct classification of grassland habitats from a series of key multiple-choice questions.
We use the 3D capabilities of GIS to visualise our project data and give us additional perspectives of our sites and proposed solutions. For example, the multidimensional views and tools provide robust techniques for calculating the number of surveyors required for bird surveys in upland areas, and to model the population distribution and density of species across a study area to identify hotspots requiring careful management or clear areas most suited to development.
Our ecology consultants make recommendations for habitat enhancement as mitigation for proposed developments and we provide practical and realistic solutions to fulfil them. We have designed ponds, badger setts, bat barns, wildflower meadows, reptile hibernacula and a multi-species hotel!
We work closely with our Habitats team to ensure these are sensitive to both the ecology and our clients’ requirements. We provide continual project support from the design phase all the way through to project completion and ongoing maintenance and monitoring.
For example, we were part of the consultant team designing a significant scheme to transform arable fields into wet grassland habitat for wading birds. We used grid models to accurately simulate water flow and to calculate areas and volumes of water and soil. We designed the layout and shape of ponds taking into account the project site, geology, climate, vegetation and local species. We utilised GIS to calculate the areas and volumes of material to be excavated and water required to fill the completed pond.
Spatial data analysis
We undertake advanced data analysis to solve a wide range of environmental problems. We use spatial tools to:
- Assess the proximity of a development to sites of ecological importance and protected species
- Calculate areas of habitat loss and gain of a development to fulfil EPSL requirements
- Create ecological balance sheets for developments to identify the requirements for biodiversity offsetting
- Conduct collision risk analysis for birds and wind farms
- Identify potential mitigation sites for species with given habitat characteristics such as nightingales, badgers and water voles.