Ala. Marine Resources Watches Gulf of Mexico With Remote Monitoring System

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources division is deploying Bosch Security Systems Inc.‘s MIC Series cameras to augment its coastal remote monitoring program.

Monitoring more than 750 square miles in Mobile Bay and 11,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico, the department utilizes the cameras for their ability to withstand wet conditions, high temperatures and corrosive salt water, according to a press release.

Responsible for managing marine fisheries resources through research and enforcement programs, the Alabama Marine Resources Division enlisted the U.S. Space and Rocket Center/Geospatial Training and Application Center (GTAC) to design a ruggedized video surveillance solution that would be easily accessible by all of its law enforcement personnel in the field. The system also needed to be able to produce usable images in light, dark and foggy conditions.

GTAC and its partner, technology provider Crystal Data, created the coastal remote monitoring system, using the MIC 400 and MIC 412 thermal series. The system enables department officers to remotely view video and still images from MIC cameras and control pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) functions, using a smart phone or laptop computer, to investigate potential security risks.

Using fiber and wireless connections, the cameras send video to Crystal Data-created Zaibot appliances, which convert video to the format preferred by the individual user, accommodating both low and high bandwidth connections. Users access video through customized consoles that allows them to securely view live images or video, control cameras, and select video for centralized archiving or saving to a remote desktop.

Because all video is recorded and retained for extended periods, officers can quickly locate stored video using date and time parameters when forensic investigations are required.

“The coastal remote monitoring system is a force multiplier. It increases efficiency of officers on patrol and affords better situational awareness,” says Major Chris Blankenship, acting director, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division. “In one incident, our officers were able to remotely investigate a suspicious vessel near a chemical plant and determine the boat was not a threat. Having mobile access to video from the MIC cameras saved the officers 50 miles of boating and several man-hours.”

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