Ray Hollida, an application engineer with Innovative Signal Analysis Inc., of Richardson, Texas, which
makes the WAVcam series of surveillance camera
systems, said that imagery can bring an additional
dimension to sensor data displays.
Most information is platted on an X-Y axis.
“2-D maps can indicate geolocations of boundaries, terrain features, roads, structures, navigational
aids and other information. A ship contact on radar
can be displayed on the plat along with AIS information about the ship, and that contact can be tracked to
show where it’s been. Other layered information can
show entry points and data from TWIC [Transportation
Worker Identification Credential] card, license plate or
biometric data,” Hollida said.
Visual information and time provide the third and
“Still and motion video provides visual validation
of what your sensor outputs and plots are telling you,”
Imagery can verify assumptions, and provide “ground
truth,” he said. “It is not unheard of for a vessel to
broadcast erroneous AIS data. Using video, the operator
can verify the AIS data with known imagery.”
Wide-area coverage cameras can see an incident
or cascading events as they unfold. There are differ-
ent technologies to provide panoramic images, from
very-wide-angle lenses to mosaics of many images
Rotating cameras can provide 360-degree coverage, but usually are limited in range because it’s
harder to rotate a camera with a big lens. Another
solution is to use multiple cameras, each aimed
slightly offset a few degrees from the next one to
create a mosaic. A fish-eye or wide-angle lens can be
less expensive, but they are not
WAVcam’s beam-steering technology uses mirrors to steer the
video into a high-end camera and
takes multiple shots that together
provide a panoramic view.
“A Wide Area Surveillance
System based on beam-steering
technology gives you the best
of both worlds — long range,
high-resolution imagery and
a persistent panoramic field of
view,” Hollida said.
According to Jeff Nicholas of
FLIR Systems in Wilsonville, Ore.,
cameras can do it all.
“Cameras can give you pretty much everything
that a radar system can give you — including bearing,
range, geolocation, and it also gives you a visual picture,” he said.
Nicholas said that most cameras are GPS enabled, so
the camera’s position is known, and the laser rangefinder can provide distance to the target.
“Over a period of time, you establish a track, just
like a radar. It’s passive — it’s not an emitter. That can
be useful because someone call tell if they are being
scanned by radar. Just like radar, all that information
can go back into a central processing area and it can be
used to calculate a tactical picture, and if that tactical
picture is streamable on any other device,” he said.
Nicholas said cameras can help classify a specific
“You can also look at it and you can tell what’s
happening on deck or on the pier,” he said.
“With the right software, cameras can provide a
wealth of information to include specifics such as
target visualization, validation, acquisition, tracking,
classification, range and bearing. However, I believe
one of the real strengths of a good surveillance system
is how it interacts with and supports other devices and
systems,” Hollida said. “High-quality imagery, radar,
AIS, geographic information, weather and perimeter
sensors all contribute to the complex notion of mari-
The reality is no single approach works for all situ-
ations. Every waterway, port or facility is different, so
each requires a tailored solution. n
Edward Lundquist traveled to Vancouver and Nanaimo in
British Columbia; Richardson, Texas; and Port Canaveral,
Fla., to report this story.
Innovative Signal Analysis Inc. of Richardson, Texas, makes the WAVcam series of long-range
video surveillance systems for homeland security and maritime domain awareness applications.
This booth shows six monitors displaying both an entire wide-area view along the top and
full-resolution windows zooming into specific details within that area at the bottom.
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