Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Design Perimeter Surveillance

The folks at SightLogix, a provider of video surveillance systems, have an interesting post on their corporate blog. It describes a system, SightSurvey®, based on Google Maps® that allows for the rapid initial design of a perimeter video surveillance system. A quick look at the literature (data sheet and reference guide) available on their site as well as a brief video make this look like an interesting concept. Using a overhead view of the facility, their system claims to allow you to place a variety of cameras around the perimeter, judge coverage overlaps and dead zones, and to determine the initial settings for the cameras selected. Their claim about ‘dead zones’ is a little misleading; it only allows you to calculate the dead zone from directly beneath the camera out to where you can first see the ground along the line of site. While this dead zone is important it is simply a calculation based upon the height of the camera and the angle of the camera to the ground. It does not take into account any obstacles or variations in terrain elevation. Given the limitations of Google Maps one can’t expect more. This does look like it would be a valuable tool to establish initial design parameters. I would be suspicious, however, of anyone that based a system quote on the out-put of this program without taking a walk along the perimeter to look at the actual problems and limitations that would have to be dealt with on the ground. The other thing that this program would probably be good for is the documentation of an installed system. The annotation of camera positions and fields of view would be very valuable if it was updated with measured dead zones. Including the ability to update the diagram with post-installation measured data would be very valuable. I would assume that the SightSurvey tool only allows for the use of SightLogix ‘SightSensors’ since it doesn’t say otherwise on their web site. I understand the market reasons for that limitation, but to be truly useful this tool would address other manufacturer’s camera systems and other intrusion detection systems. Over all, this does sound like (site unseen) an interesting and potentially valuable site security planning tool. I would certainly like to hear from people that have actually used the SightSurvey tool.

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