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Due to scheduled maintenance work by our external provider, background aerial imagery on Canmore may be unavailable

between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


Marine Environment Data and Information Network


In May 2014 the Marine Environment Data and Information Network (MEDIN) recently approved RCAHMS as part of an Accredited Data Archive Centre for the Historic Environment recognising its commitment to ensuring that information about the marine historic environment of Scotland is properly documented, preserved and accessible. Accreditation will help raise the profile of the historic environment with those working in the marine industry and encourage deposition of archives and use of our information, which in turn can help to deliver effective stewardship of our fragile maritime past.

MEDIN is a partnership of public and private sector UK organisations set up to promote good governance of marine survey data. Marine data is expensive to collect and provides a unique snapshot in time and location of the richness and condition of Scotland’s coasts and seas. MEDIN encourages the consistent application of standards to improve discovery of, access to and re-use of geographical data across the marine industry through a series of Accredited Data Archive Centres (DACs).

Scattered along 18,000 kilometres of coastline and across nearly 77,000 square kilometres of sea to the 200 nautical mile limit, Scotland’s marine heritage is extremely diverse ranging from coastal (and submerged) archaeology to wrecks of ships and aircraft. Much of what we know about underwater heritage stems from investigations following chance discoveries of historic shipwrecks. For example a 17th century Cromwellian shipwreck, thought to be the Swan, was discovered by Royal Navy diver John Dadd in 1979 close to Duart Point, Isle of Mull, then excavated with support from Historic Scotland between 1992 and 2003. Onshore, lighthouses and coastal defences helped keep people safe. From the air, our aerial survey programme has helped document human exploitation of the seas, recording tidal fish traps and kelp grids in tidal waters. Interest in the marine historic environment has recently grown considerably: community projects help document, monitor and record coastal heritage under threat from coastal erosion; Historic Scotland’s recent surveys are helping to record Scapa Flow’s rich wartime underwater heritage; commercial projects looking at possible impacts of offshore renewable energy projects – are all opening up knowledge about our coasts and seas, while generating large amounts of important marine survey data.

Through Canmore, RCAHMS ensures that anyone interested in Scotland’s maritime heritage can find information about these and other sites and explore the wealth of drawings, photographs, documents and, increasingly, digital data catalogued in our Collections. Both RCAHMS and Historic Scotland also share data with Marine Scotland’s Interactive Marine Planning Portal to provide an access point for those working offshore. All marine surveys now commissioned by Historic Scotland have to comply with MEDIN data archiving standards.