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Magazine of Cartography


















Bialy S., Kroh P.

Institute of Geography, Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland

Application of airborn laser scaning data for reconstruction of old mining routes in the tatra mts., poland


      Currently, Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) is a technology, that allows for detailed DTM development. Using GIS tools, recognition and very detailed measurements of landforms can be made. The advantage of this technology is that it allows to build a terrain model without vegetation, which is very dense in some places, covers relief and makes impossible to recognize landforms. For this reason extracted ALS bare ground points have been used to construct DTM.

      The copper, lead, silver ore were discovered in the Tatra Mts in the Middle Ages, and had been mined for centuries. In the 19th century the most intensive extracting of iron ore took place. Miners used routes and roads, which led from the mines to steelworks facilities or smithies. After the mines were closed down, the roads were used by shepherds, tourists or for any other purposes.

      The subject of the study are only unused today old mine roads. They were used until the end of the 19th century or until the 1950s. Mining activity stopped in the 1870s. In 1954 Tatra National Park (TPN) was established and old mine roads are now located within strictly protected area. Natural processes and protection acting caused their renaturalisation. Many of the roads are difficult to recognize or identify in the field [Bialy, Kroczak 2014; Bialy, Kukulak 2014; Bialy 2013]. Roads, that became labeled tourist routes or used until today as forest roads, are not the subject of the study, as their length and location are obvious.

      The aim of the study is to reconstruct the network of old mining routes based on cartographical sources and data obtained from ALS. The aim involves: 1) verification and assessment of accuracy in previous cartographic studies and 2) completing skipped sections of the roads and showing detailed map (1:2 500) of old mine road network.



      The only two published maps presenting old mine roads are so far available. Used as source: map by Stefan Zwolinski (1:75 000) published in book by H. Jost [1962] and a map by H. Jost and A. Paulo (1:50 000) published in TPN Atlas [1985]. Both maps are not precise enough, due to scale, and they are not corresponding to each other.

      In the first stage of the research, two source maps were compiled and old roads were drawn on a topographic map (1:10 000) (Fig. 1). As on the topographic map not all roads and routes are shown, vector map (1) was put on DTM. In the second stage digitalization on the DTM has been done. Skipped sections have been completed and courses of roads have been verified. Discrepancies between the topographic map and DTM obtained from ALS reached up to 100m (Fig. 2).

Compilation of the source maps and digitalization on topographic map

Fig 1. Compilation of the source maps and digitalization
on topographic map (stage 1)


Digitalzation on DTM obtained from ALS

Fig. 2 Digitalzation on DTM obtained from ALS and verifying old mine network: 1-5 – discrepancies between the topographic map and DTM (stage 2)



      In result of research a complete map of unused mine roads has been drawn (1:2 500) with their length in total 51,9 km. Previous cartographic studies give length 33,9 km according to the map by S. Zwolinski’s and 27,2 km according to the map in TPN Atlas. Compilation of both maps, including roads marked on both or only on one of them, gives the result of 44,9 km. 9,7 km has not been presented on both maps. These are the final sections of roads that lead to the mines and clearly observed on DTM.

      Reviewer – philosophy doctor А. Oreshchenko



  1. Bialy, S. (2013). The remains of mining and metallurgy industry as examples of geomorphosites in the Tatra Mts., Assessment, their role in education and geotourism, In: Geomorphology and sustainability, 8th International Conference (AIG) on Geomorphology, Paris, 27-31 August 2013, Abstract Volume, 555.

  2. Bialy, S., Kroczak, R. (2014). The remains of mining and metallurgy industry as examples of geomorphosites in Dolina Jaworzynki, Tatra Mountains, Poland. In: Вікирчак О. (ed.), Наукові засади природоохоронного менеджменту екосистем Каньйонового Придністров’я: Матеріали 1-шої міжнар. наук.-практ. конф., присвяч. сторіччю ботан. дослідж. у регіоні, 11-12 верес. 2014 р., м. Заліщики, Львів: Ліга-Прес, p. 179-183.

  3. Bialy, S. Kukulak, J. (2014). The old mine roads transformations in Tatra Mts in the last 150 years. In: International Geographical Union (IGU) Regional Conference, Changes, Chalanges, Responsibility, Abstract book, Krakow, Poland, 18-22 August 2014, p. 1145.

  4. Jost, H. (1962). O gornictwie i hutnictwie w Tatrach Polskich, Wydawnictwo Naukowo-Techniczne, Warszawa.

  5. Jost, H., Paulo, A. (1985). Zloza, dawne gornictwo i przemysl. [w:] Trafas, K. (red.) Atlas Tatrzanskiego Parku Narodowego, Zakopane – Krakow: Tatrzanski Park Narodowy, Polskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciol Nauk o Ziemi oddzial w Krakowie.


      Arrived to editorship: October 12, 2018.


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