Home   News   Article

Seeing the Highlands from on high

By Ian Duncan

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Tomasz Sokolowski. Picture: Callum Mackay
Tomasz Sokolowski. Picture: Callum Mackay

An Inverness photographer is virtually documenting the Highland capital and its surrounding area using a drone.

And Tomasz Sokolowski, a 39-year-old virtual tour supplier, has used the 360 degree panoramas to help create a new website which shows the Highlands at their best.

Having made lots of 360 degree virtual tours “from the ground” for various Highland businesses he said: “When I saw the option to capture 360 degree panoramas using a drone I wanted to see if aerial virtual tours would be possible and easy to navigate.

“I purchased a specific model of a drone – one which is able to capture 360 degree panoramas. I’ve been thinking about this idea for about two-and-a-half years.”

He said he started gathering footage for the project in Spring 2021 and found the process of learning to pilot the drone straightforward.

“Droning is quite easy so it didn’t take long to learn to operate a drone – probably a few flights, so maybe two hours in total,” he said.

“Passing the exam was more difficult and it took me about two weeks.

“The exam was difficult because although it was done online I was being [invigilated], so I was watched over a webcam non stop. The exam was one hour long and I passed at the first attempt.”

Mr Sokolowski said he wanted to show off the region at its best and added: “The aim of the project is to show the beauty of city landscapes from a completely different perspective – a bird’s eye view.

“I also do websites in my free time so setting it up was not a problem.

“The challenge was to identify an appropriate hosting company which will offer reasonable service at a cost which I am willing to pay. If the website is loading fast, that’s proof that the choice I’ve made was good.

“Another major challenge was to design the interface for the tour while having functionality and simplicity in mind.

“360 technology is not the easiest to work with, hence what you currently see on the website is the sixth version of the interface.

“I think it’s pretty good but I still have a few other ideas how to improve it and at some point in future I will try to implement them.”

Mr Sokolowski said that, so far, he has covered around 60 per cent of the city.

He aims to capture the remaining 40 per cent before moving onto nearby villages –having already started with Rosemarkie and Dores.

He said he also hoped to recapture areas which have seen the most changes or developments – such as the demolition of the gas tank in Harbour Road where he took footage both before and after demolition.

He said he was surprised by the feedback and added: “I was not expecting such rave reviews and comments about the project. I have had visitors from all over the world who have already seen this as I’ve shared this on Twitter and on a few Facebook groups.

"One of the visitors from Canada commented that they’ve shown this tour to their grandmother who lived in Inverness when she was young and she was able to track down the street where she grew up and see how much her old neighbourhood has changed since then. There were a few hundred other positive comments like that as well.”

Locations which have been added in recent months include Rosemarkie, Plodda Falls, Bught Park, Phoineas Hill near the village of Beauly, the River Beauly, Dores and the Great Glen and the Loch Ness area.

• Visit Virtual Inverness to enjoy the Highland capital from a completely different perspective.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More