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4 September 2017

Digital Map Brings Scottish-Polish Links To Life

Animated Great Polish Map of Scotland will use oral histories, archive imagery and film to bring Scots/Polish links to life

aerial view of a concrete map with a circular fence around the boundary
A unique landmark celebrating Scottish/Polish relations is to be brought to life digitally to highlight the many cultural and historical connections between the two nations.
The Great Polish Map of Scotland, a large, concrete, physical relief map in the grounds of Barony Castle, Peeblesshire, has been digitally scanned using 3D technology by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
Following completion of the 3D documentation work last month, the digital version of the map - in the form of an animation - is being prepared by HES and will feature various locations across Scotland boasting links to Poland and its people.
Led by HES, the digital heritage project is being delivered collaboratively with The Scottish Government, MapaScotland - the charity campaigning to conserve and restore the physical map at Barony Castle - and the Polish Scottish Heritage Group.
The project followed discussions earlier this year between Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop and the Consul General of Poland, Dariusz Adler, around how Scotland could mark the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence next year. Once complete, the map will be shared for use among the project partners.
Ahead of the digital documentation work, Ms Hyslop visited the actual, physical map itself earlier this month to see the site and discuss the project with Sylwia Spooner, Head of Cultural Affairs at the Polish Consulate General.
Commenting on the project, Ms Hyslop, said: “The Great Polish Map of Scotland is a fine example of Scotland’s ties and friendship with Poland and I am confident this project will help strengthen the long-standing political, cultural and economic relations between our two countries and place a huge focus on our shared heritage as we celebrate this Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Scotland and Poland have drawn strength from each other for centuries, building strong connections and a thriving relationship. I look forward to celebrating together the centenary of Polish independence in November 2018.”
Dr Lyn Wilson, Digital Documentation Manager at HES, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to use our skills in digital documentation and visualisation to create a unique animation celebrating the long-established cultural connections between Scotland and Poland. Using accurate 3D laser scans and photogrammetry data of the Great Polish Map of Scotland we will produce a detailed backdrop to highlight things like oral histories, archive imagery and film. The 3D data will also be a useful resource for MapaScotland in the longer term conservation of the actual Map itself.”
team of six people stand on a concrete map with a laser camera used in survey work, smiling at the camera

HES Digital Documentation Team at The Great Polish Map of Scotland

Keith Burns, Secretary of MapaScotland, said: “This project fits our charitable objectives admirably, particularly as we approach the 100th anniversary of Polish independence. We look forward to featuring the animation work along with continuing restoration work on the map.
The Great Polish Map of Scotland is a catalyst that will help the new generations of young Scots and Poles remember the links between our nations going as far back as the 16th century.”
Lidia Krzynowek, Director of the Polish Cultural Festival Association added: “The Great Polish Map of Scotland is a wonderful example of shared Polish-Scottish heritage and the many links our countries have and the great people stories that have contributed to the diversity of contemporary Scottish culture. This fantastic digital project will support that superbly.”
The Great Polish Map of Scotland was the idea of Jan Tomasik, a former sergeant in the 1st Armoured Division of the Polish Army during World War II, who was stationed in Galashiels during the conflict. Following the War, Tomasik bought the hotel at Black Barony (Barony Castle) in 1968 and set about creating the unique landmark in its grounds as a celebration of the links between his homeland and his adopted country. The map was completed in 1979.
The site also has connections with Polish forces during the Second World War when the hotel, established in 1926, was requisitioned in 1942 for use as the main staff college for training Polish officers in Scotland.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA), a year that will celebrate Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland’s fascinating past. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and a variety of partners.

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For further information

Barry McPherson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8097
Mobile: 07813 357 722