Award for Digital Innovation

This category is open to any geotechnical company that can show excellence in the way it has used digital technology to improve systems, performance, processes or project delivery within its own business between January 2023 and January 2024.

Entries could focus on a particular digital innovation - such as an initiative to improve safety, employment practices, collaboration or delivery - or present how digital innovation is fostered and encouraged across the business and the benefits this is driving.

GeoBIM Trial: Fort Augustus – Skye 132kV Reinforcement 

Digital engineering is making a significant impact on SSEN’s Skye Reinforcement Project through the trial of a new software platform, GeoBIM, which is being developed through a year-long collaboration with Arcadis. The trial involves leveraging the interfaces between ESRI, Bentley and SSEN’s Autodesk environment to create a new approach to organisational data collaboration. A notable example involves changing the way in which ground investigation (GI) data is shared and utilised in early design. GI data is brought into 3D models in a user-friendly interface, enabling data to be viewed quickly and in a collaborative manner, enhancing our decision-making processes and enabling more informed organisational design choices. Following the trial, the ambition is to expand the project remit to develop a partnership between SSEN and Arcadis, promoting shared learning and eventually scaling the platform across the organization, integrating the technology into standard workflows.

EarthWorks: L-band SAR derived soil moisture monitoring 

ASTERRA's EarthWorks solution is the first on the market making L-band SAR soil moisture analysis available commercially, L-Band SAR can have an important part to play in the ongoing puzzle of failure prediction and forecasting. With a greater understanding of asset behaviour using L-Band SAR, combined with the already existing investigation and monitoring techniques, asset managers will be better able to direct resources and funding to the correct areas and hopefully prevent the onset of failure exacerbated by climate change effects and prolong asset lifespan for many more decades, maintaining crucial transportation networks, keeping the economy moving and ensuring public safety.

LISAA (LiDAR Interpretation and Slope Analysis Automation) 

LISAA is a Python tool developed by AtkinsRéalis that automates the assessment of geometry, geology and slope stability analysis. The tool dramatically reduces the time and cost of undertaking quantitative slope stability analysis for large earthwork assets. The tool has been used by Network Rail on the Tonbridge to Hastings Undrained Earthwork and Modernisation Programme and Engineering Research (THUMPER), providing a more detailed quantitative assessment of the stability of the earthworks along the route than would otherwise be possible. The tool can also be applied to new build earthworks, making possible the optimisation of earthwork design at scale. This has been done for Sizewell’s Main Construction Area (MCA) excavation, in which the optimal excavation angles were determined across a large excavation area for each stratum excavated.

Semi-quantitative Risk Assessment for Remote Linear Infrastructure

CGL have built upon our established open-source GIS geospatial risk assessment tool by integrating aspects of remote sensing and providing further interrogation and visualisation of the data. The use of radiometric indices has enabled us to provide a bespoke risk assessment for remote linear infrastructure in Scotland, specifically regarding compressible and mobile peat deposits. The assessment of peat as a ground engineering hazard has been validated through intrusive investigations, and the radiometric indices have now been integrated alongside our existing data sources (including BGS data and LiDAR) as part of our semi-quantitative risk assessment (SQRA). The outcomes of the risk assessment provide insights for risk management through targeted and bespoke ground investigation based on the risks identified. This ultimately provides efficiencies and reduces our client’s costs whilst also providing a high degree of confidence in the understanding of the ground risks present on the project.

Concept Engineering Consultants
E-Site App

Concept's E-Site app epitomizes our commitment to innovation, safety, and sustainability, seamlessly integrating into Microsoft 365 and setting a benchmark for industry practices. Utilizing a QR Code ID system, it streamlines access, ensuring compliance and fostering a safety-centric culture. A standout feature is its advanced digital site-specific induction process, enhancing safety and accountability through verified attendance. In emergencies, E-Site stores critical individual information for swift responses, reflecting our dedication to workforce well-being. The app facilitates real-time reporting, fostering a proactive safety culture. It improves efficiencies with features like digital inductions, daily briefings, and real-time data integration. Aligned with sustainability goals, E-Site monitors emissions, plant usage, and travel methods, contributing to our Net Zero Plan. Continual improvements showcase E-Site's adaptability, enhancing worker safety, enabling data analytics, providing customized resources, and integrating environmental monitoring. This dynamic tool stands as a solution to industry challenges, offering valuable insights and promoting collaborative improvement.

Digital Trial Pits

The improvements in Reality Capture technology has put a powerful tool in the hands of Geotechnical Engineers. By using the LiDAR scanner on a iPhone Pro, Expanded Geotechnical have developed a safer means of capturing trial pit data and generated a digital 3D image which can be incorporated into existing ground modelling tools. This has improved the interpretation of near surface materials and Contaminated Ground. The success of the technique has allowed it to be expanded into mapping services and utilities.


Groundforce has built an enviable reputation as a first-class market leader in the ground engineering sector as a supplier of specialist construction equipment and solutions. The Company is committed to shaping the digital landscape of the industry by introducing tangible solutions that drive efficiency, effectiveness, and safety in construction and excavation projects. Building on the success of YourSolution, a standard excavation online design tool, in 2023 Groundforce Shorco launched the latest upgrade to the system, YourSolution+. Another industry first in temporary works solutions, YourSolution+ offers engineers and temporary works coordinators unprecedented access to create their own bespoke trench and manhole box designs, delivering cost and efficiency savings.

Macquarie Geotechnical
Digital platform for ground investigation field work planning

MacGeo extended their inhouse work management platform to allow it to be used for streamlined management of geotechnical GI field work activities, including management of scope of work information as machine readable data, as well as coordination and quality assurance tracking of planning activities such as identification of buried utilities and test hole specific hazards. The solution not only provides the usual digital conveniences, but exploits the underlying data to deliver cost savings along with significant improvements in safety, quality, and productivity goals; and ultimately better client outcomes.

ParaRanger – An innovative digital tool for ground parametric analysis

Designing tunnels requires using numerical analysis routines with strong computing power to ensure efficiency and sustainability in design. In this entry, a digital tool called "ParaRanger" is described that automates the analysis process of tunnel problems. ParaRanger runs multiple analyses for a range of input values using a single base model, which saves time and effort compared to creating multiple models from scratch. The parameters that can be modified include material properties and geometry parameters. The user first develops a soil-structure interaction model in commercial software. ParaRanger then uses this model to generate multiple model files automatically. The tool then automates the analysis of these models in the commercial software in a batch process. ParaRanger tool helps to run sensitivity models with very limited human intervention, organizing the results in a template that users can compare for decision-making. It's a significant advancement in parametric analyses that greatly reduces time and cost.

National Highway s, BAM Ritchies & Aecom - Arup Consortium
Enhancement of Geotechnical Asset Inspections using Spot the Dog (agile robotics)

National Highways and other owners of geotechnical assets are required to undertake cyclic inspections of the assets, these often require physical inspections by Engineers in high risk and restricted access areas. National Highways has been researching numerous alternatives to physical inspections since 2018. However, with the advent of accessible agile robots and through collaboration with BAM Richies, Aecom and Arup, National Highways have been undertaking trials with Boston Dynamics’ Spot the Dog within live network environments with a view to using robotics to enhance and or replace physical inspections. These trials were completed to identify the operation boundaries of the delivery platform for the array of data capture sensors to allow for repeatable surveys of geotechnical assets throughout the strategic road network.

Use of kml files for ground investigation project management, dynamic constraints plans, and ground model development.

KML provides simple versatile GIS, making it the ideal tool for planning and managing logistics for complex investigations. KML is also data efficient, compatible on mainstream cloud systems, and can be accessed by the wider project team, including small suppliers and individuals, who may not have access to specialist software, thereby maximising collaboration across all stakeholders. TetraTech’s investment in the development and application of KML to project management has been tremendously beneficial to our quality delivery, and we are excited by the potential for further application to ground models and risk assessment. The open simplicity of KML will no doubt render it a valuable tool for the general management of sustainable projects and systems, particularly where ground information plays a crucial role. We are therefore committed to encouraging the use of KML throughout the ground engineering industry and allowing this technology to flourish for the benefit of the wider community.