Cape Cornwall’s new coastal camera

The camera keeps watch where volunteers would fear to tread The camera keeps watch where volunteers would fear to tread

Cape Cornwall Coastwatch is a team of volunteers that monitors a section of coast in Cornwall, UK for hazardous activities.

The team operates from a former Coastguard look-out station situated at the extreme western point of this significant headland which was located there to optimise the view out to sea. When the lookout was established, a view into nearby Priest’s Cove was not considered necessary but now this cove has become increasingly popular with tourists and is also used by local fishermen. The Cape Cornwall Coastwatch is part of the National Coastwatch Institution, and it had been reliant on a manual process of watching the coastline, using binoculars where necessary, to identify possible indications of people in danger.

This manual process had proven to be especially challenging when monitoring Priest Cove during stormy conditions. The cove has always a busy place catering for visitors and fisherman alike, so it became essential for the team to conduct regular reviews of the activities in the cove to ensure the safety of all that use it. In order to view the cove the watch-keepers had to negotiate a narrow path along the cliff edge which could be dangerous in adverse weather and it became apparent that a video camera might provide a solution. That is why a community campaign was undertaken to fund the installation of leading network video technology, allowing watch keepers to clearly see into the cove and improve public safety without putting themselves at risk.

Following a review of the most suitable technology available by NCI Technologies, a leader in the field of IT support and services in Cornwall, the AXIS Q6055-E camera was selected for installation. An advanced PTZ dome style camera from Axis Communications, it provides watch keepers with both wide overviews of the cove and its sea area, as well as superb zoomed-in detail to monitor potential casualties and fishing boats taking to the water. Its 32x optical zoom, in combination with HDTV 1080p resolution, provides top of the range close-up views of people and objects of interest. The camera is located on a cliff side facing the Atlantic Ocean and it was considered that the AXIS Q6055-E was the best solution for the demanding outdoor environment due to its robust design and build.

“We needed the best of the best technology for this installation to be a success. With the camera placed where it is, it had to be robust and reliable, as it’s a difficult place to reach should engineers be required to resolve a technical issue. Axis cameras provide us with this reliability.” James Scott, IT Consultant at NCI Technologies. Applying its experience of similar installations at other coastal locations, NCI Technologies was able to overcome the difficult weather and terrain.

By Dag Pike

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