Coastalwatch Safeguards Popular Beaches with Milestone IP Video Platform
Milestone Systems’ open-platform IP video management software is being used by Coastalwatch, an analytics and media content company that services international surf life-saving and coastal-management needs by delivering live and recorded video and information on beaches and coastlines around the globe via its CoastalCOMS division.
As a main component of the CoastalCOMS monitoring platform, the Queensland, Australia-based company is using Milestone XProtect software to provide live video surveillance and analytics solutions to marine safety and coastal management officials in several cities in Australia and the United States. CoastalCOMS’ analytics software and multi-national network of hosted coastal cameras are also used for the collection of real-time data, such as wave height and wave period analysis, vessel monitoring and counting, people counting on beaches, as well as tracking changes in the shoreline and general beach state.
With access to more than 100 Coastalwatch-owned cameras on the ground in Australia and many more private or municipally owned cameras in the U.S and abroad, CoastalCOMS uses Milestone XProtect software to centrally view and control cameras globally, layering in the ability to extract data for environmental monitoring, public education, tourism and recreational usage.
Different combinations of the imagery and information are used by such customers as the City and County of Honolulu’s Ocean Safety Division, where CoastalCOMS assists surf lifesavers with hosted surveillance platforms capable of wave height analysis and people counting. The City of Galveston, Texas, also chose CoastalCOMS for surveillance of remote beaches because it increased the ability to measure the amount of shoreline change as a result of hurricanes.
"Milestone XProtect software allows us to create ’networks’ of coastal cameras on the fly, patterning and sourcing video from both new and existing beach cameras according to each customer’s needs. We then process the video in real time for different groups based on their reporting needs and workflows," says Tim Chandler, President/CEO of CoastalCOMS. "Integrated into our solution using the Milestone SDK, XProtect makes it possible for us to provision access to the video and cameras so only the right people can view the video and information at the right times."
Video streams from a CoastalCOMS camera network being used by Surf Life Saving Queensland are also available to the public on Coastalwatch.com, which provides live video images, wave height and swell information, daily surf reports and other news to the international surfing community. When authorities need to take manual control of the cameras during a lifesaving incident, integration with CoastalCOMS XProtect solution allows the live images and HD video on the media site to be cut off and replaced with other media content so as not to broadcast the command and control activities of life-savers and marine safety to the public.
Coastalwatch uses mostly Sony cameras in its network and the networks it installs for clients. Its current solutions include a blend of Sony RZ25s with SNTEX101s in place, a huge install base of Sony RZ50s, and a growing number of the newer HD lines including the SNCRH164 HD domes and the bullet-style SNCCH180 HD cams. Coastalwatch has been a Sony partner for years in Asia/Pacific/Australia working with Sony engineering out of Japan.
"We can attest to how great the Sony optics and imaging are, as well as to the importance of their PTZ cameras’ 'return-to-preset' accuracies and overall encoding abilities for what we do. We are now scheduling cameras and reading video for processing directly from the Milestone database via integration with our CoastalCOMS cloud platform. With the XProtect API, CoastalCOMS-enabled cameras can automatically reposition themselves based on alerts from external sensors or data feeds, such as a status change in an emergency management system, a weather service warning or alert, or a measured change that happens in front of the camera - we don’t even have to press a button," Chandler explains. "This provides our customers with unprecedented abilities to gather information and images to better understand conditions and coordinate responses in changing beach environments around the world."
Surf Life Saving Denmark last year installed a high definition CoastalCOMS camera at Hvide Sande Beach in west Denmark as a pilot project. The HD camera is in use to support lifesaving efforts by providing decision support at this busy German tourist destination. Video from the system is managed via CoastalCOMS' hosted Milestone cloud presence in the UK and can be serviced jointly by both U.S. and Australian offices. As most of the infrastructure normally deployed on location is instead deployed in the cloud, the only resource necessary in Denmark for this solution is a local resource for simple break fixes on the field hardware. The added abilities of CoastalCOMS’ wave and environmental data processing for the lifeguards will be useful for both public safety and tourism.
In January, Coastalwatch was awarded the 2011 Pioneer Award at the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Awards for CoastalCOMS Wave Height Processing Technology. The annual award is given to a person, group, or organization that through the application of an idea and/or commitment to a project have broken new ground while contributing to the enhancement and innovation of the sport of surfing in the prior year.