About Us


 

TeamSurv was originally formed for developing crowd sourcing methods for improving the quality of data on nautical charts. Initial trials had shown that the idea was viable, and could produce good quality results, and in 2013 TeamSurv was formed as a spin-out from Smartcom Software to develop the concept further.

Whilst we were getting good results technically, it was hard to find an economically sustainable model other than grants through EU funding. With the Brexit vote, new sources of funding dried up, and UK funders said it wasn’t an area they were interested in, so we had to downsize and have a rethink. The software systems have been mothballed, though we are still looking for possible applications for them, but we are concentrating on the hardware developed, continuing to manufacture and sell these products, and developing new ones.

Our Smartlog data logger is used by a number of other crowdsourcing projects, who we are also happy to support with our expertise, as well as other applications. Our Wi-Fi Gateway is primarily used to enable sailors to get their instrument data into apps on their phones or tablets. All products are designed, manufactured, and supported from the UK.

 

Tim Thornton


After studying first Naval Architecture and then computer science, Tim became the first employee at Rob Humphreys Yacht Design, mostly working on IOR racing yacht design. In doing this, he and Rob developed some of the earliest on-board computer tools, initially for navigation, and then for performance logging when B&G first added a serial interface to their Hercules system in about 1982.
For a number of years he worked on yacht design and computing in parallel. He worked at the RORC Rating Office for a number of years as Technical Secretary, bringing CHS (now IRC) into fruition. At Tony Castro Yacht Design he ran the computer systems, and developed automated design optimisation software for the America’s Cup, as well as working on yacht design. He also worked as a freelance designer, and developed race simulation and weather routing software for the Whitbread Round the World Race, Vendée Globe and similar ocean races. In addition, he wrote columns for Seahorse and Yachting World, as well as a number of books, on yacht design and marine electronics.
Wanting a break from the sailing world, he worked as a Research Scientist at IBM for a number of years, developing tools for 3-d computer graphics and data visualisation for workstations and supercomputers, and showing their applications in yacht design, car body design and oceanography.

 

Due to cuts at IBM, the research lab was closed, and Tim set up Marine Computing International (MCI), providing software and systems, together with electronic interfacing devices for yachts. As well as catering to the local Solent market, they quickly built up a customer base amongst superyachts, providing a complete service in providing complex systems for navigation, meteorology, communications and entertainment systems. This often involved developing new software and hardware, such as some of the first sunlight readable waterproof displays. They were also pulled in to research projects for the marine sector by organisations such as QinetiQ and the European Space Agency (ESA).
MCI made the mistake of trying to do too much for their resources, and eventually had to close. Tim then decided to concentrate on software and hardware products, leaving systems integration and installation to others, and started Smartcom Software. This continued to offer products developed at MCI as well as new offerings, and carried out research and consultancy for ESA, the European Union and UK organisations, such as developing an early Satnav system for cars with real time capture and use of actual vehicle speeds – similar to what Waze has developed in to.
The use of crowd sourced data sparked off the idea of using it for improving mapping of depths and other data on nautical charts, and so some 10 years ago the original TeamSurv project began, helped by EU funding. To gain further funding, it was spun off as a separate company, which Tim still runs today.