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2019: A Year in Review and Looking Towards 2020

18th December 2019

As the year draws to a close, we wanted to summarise the amazing year Terrafirma has had, including our key 2019 events and also look towards an exciting 2020.

2019 has been a year of change at Terrafirma; time and resources have been invested in our growing team and we have established a new GeoData Department, which will be a key area of focus in 2020.

Our market-leading products have been further enhanced with additional data and expertise to address the issues presented to consumers by clay-related subsidence. The Ground Report and CON29M have continued to grow in use across the UK, with our CON29M now being used in 1 in 4 transactions within the UK's coal mining areas.

As well as technical and product innovation, Terrafirma have once again been pleased to offer work experience placements to Geography and Geology students from the University of Bristol, and in August Terrafirma took on Tough Mudder and raised over £500 for homeless charity St Mungo's.

As we look back across this years achievements, within our mission to innovate and educate professionals and the public on risks the ground poses, we have collated our 2019 highlights;

  • March 2019 - Terrafirma host the first Advisory Panel meeting for a team of experienced professionals across legal due diligence, geology and mining to explore new ideas and current challenges.

  • April 2019 - Terrafirma expands its Executive, Development and Marketing Team and establishes the GeoData Department, including welcoming Chris Milne as Technical Director to bolster the company’s geological and engineering expertise.

  • May 2019 - CEO and Founder, Tom Backhouse continues his ambition of educating professionals and the public around ground hazards by featuring on BBC The One Show, discussing sinkholes in the UK, their impacts and links to a changing climate.

  • October 2019 - Terrafirma adopts Bluesky’s unique database of more than 300 million trees as part of a major update. The Terrafirma Ground Report is now the first conveyancing search product to provide detailed, property-specific information on the risks from clay related subsidence and trees - a major cause of building damage in the UK.

  • October 2019 - In October Terrafirma proudly sponsored the Mortgage Finance Gazette Conference and launched the inaugural application of the National Ground Risk Model.

Looking Towards 2020:

2020 will see more exciting product enhancements to our already market-leading reports, with our expert team already working on adding enhanced risk assessment for hazards such as coastal erosion and other climate change-related ground hazards.

The creation of the new GeoData Department, the appointment of renowned commercial and legal data expert, Lucy Oxer as Chief Data Officer in October (and the addition of an exciting new Director in January) provides the platform for the launch of the National Ground Risk Model (NGRM) in 2020. This pioneering DaaS Solution has been designed to enable smarter, future-proofed decision making for land appraisal, planning, insurance, asset management and within the financial services. It is the culmination of years of development into unlocking the value of GeoData and the knowledge held within our best and brightest geo-scientists, whilst additionally exploring the enormous potential for the use of Earth Observation data, machine learning and climate modelling within data-driven ground risk assessment.

It is an exciting year ahead for GeoData and Terrafirma are excited to be at the forefront of driving innovation, commercial application and academic research for the benefit of society.

To continue our charity fundraising efforts, Terrafirma are embarking on a ‘Mine to Mountain' challenge in April 2020. This sees the Terrafirma team travel to Snowdonia to the deepest underground point in the UK; 1,400ft below the surface, before climbing up to the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales! All to raise money for homeless charity St Mungo's. You can follow our journey and donate here.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients and partners a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and look forward to working with you in the new year.

CEO and Founder Tom Backhouse was delighted to judge and present the 'Outstanding Achievement of the Year' award at the Modern Law Conveyacing Awards.

Senior Account Manager, Rachael Hodge and Tom launched the inaugural application of the National Ground Risk Model at the Mortage Finance Gazette Conference in October.

GIS image show mining hazards alongside Bluesky’s National Tree Map data. © The Coal Authority 2019. © Ordnance Survey Crown copyright and database right 2019. © Bluesky International Ltd, 2019. © Terrafirma IDC Ltd 2019. House photo credit Robert Peel.


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Blog written by Tom Backhouse

Contact the team for more information and advice

Tel: 0330 900 7500

Email: info@terrafirmasearch.co.uk