Subscriber Discussion

Need CCTV Coverage Of 1000 Acre Farm

There's a farm of approximate 1000 acres which is totally flat. They need to have IP Cameras installed.

What would be the best option? Go for PTZ after every 200 metres ?

We also have to be careful of length from the camera to the NVR. Mostly use Fibre Media converter (single).

Also, what would be the best option for power ? (Solar may be)


What are you trying to capture? Are you trying to detect intruders, or just keep a general overview of the farm? Do you have power and network drops?

General view

Is there a project budget? What is their goal? Is someone going to watching this or are they looking for automated alerts?

I have not used solar but it would depend on what all you are powering.

No budget issues.

The want a general view and automated alerts (prefered)

Full disclosure, I work for ipConfigure, who manufacturers and sells Gigapixel cameras.

One option you might want to consider is larger cameras, like Gigapixel cameras or even the Avigilon 29 MP cameras. This is the one area where the larger cameras are a better option thatn the normal cameras. If you want to email me at I can give you access to our demo gigapixel camera. I am looking at a golf course that is 2 miles away from the camera. As well as a toolbox that is about 50 feet. So it has some versatility.

IMHO, Gigapixel is a better choice when you don't have the infrastructure in place. If you already have power and network drops through out the farm, going with normal PTZ cameras is going to be a better option.

It also depends on how the farm is structured. If it is 1000 SQUARE acres that is one thing, but if it is an oblong shapre or something weird, you would have to have more cameras than you would expect.

How dark is the farm at night? How important is night monitoring?

A "general view" isn't much to go on. Are they having problems now? Is there anything on the perimeter currently like a fence? If they want to just catch intruders coming into their fields then you may want to look at thermal cameras spaced out and analytics to send out alerts. Putting a bunch of PTZs is going to be useless unless you have someone controlling them or integrate them into some type of perimeter detection system. If you put a lot 5-10 MP cameras ya you'll have general views but what good are they going to do you? At best you might get, "yup there's something on video, i think they have a red coat on."

I would say Fiber or ..... coax and might be POE over coax, cheaper than fiber

You can have +/- 500 meters coax, a s and 1 or 2 cameras on the same coax and there is could be a Fixed dome with IR and passive IR to detect presence and a small dome or a cheaper IR Bullet (motion detect doesn't work well in outdoor, better use IR at night)

Something that seems to have been overlooked so far is the fact that such an acreage is going to be almost completely dark at night, and standard cameras are going to be useless after dark (forget about IR or even flood lights at this kind of range and area). A farm of this size is necessarily going to be far from any sort of "light pollution", so even the best low-light cameras are unlikely to give usable image, short of going to super-long shutter speeds.

If you want to be able to see what's happening at night, thermal is probably going to be required... potentially combined with PTZs that an operator can use to look in on areas of interest.

This is a clip of a site where we have three thermal cameras (one FLIR WideEye, two FLIR SR-19s) and a Pelco Esprit PTZ atop a 50' tower in the middle of a two-square-block yard; presets on the PTZ are configured to match the various FLIR camera views (PTZ in this shot is on Preset 5, matching Zone 5 FLIR).

Obviously this shot is during the day, but the FLIRs look almost the same day or night (they do lose some contrast in fog and heavy rain), and in this case it's a smaller area with SOME lighting, so the PTZ is still usable at night. People, animals and running or recently-running vehicles show bright-white in the scenes.

Here are some older day vs. night samples I have:

Visible Light Image (Pelco Esprit PTZ)

The other consideration, of course, is that you WILL need to get the cameras to some altitude for a good overview - as noted, the cameras in my examples are on a 50' high tower - so you'll need to factor that into your design as well.

What do you mean completely forgotten! I asked a question about darkness earlier.

But yes, totally, agree. I suspect night time monitoring, if important, is going to be a real challenge.

Heh... John, your question wasn't there when I started typing my reply :)

Gents -

If the concern is perimeter intrusion into the land rather than watching the cotton-pickers work, there's a neat technology offered by a company in Austin called SmarterFence in which multi-mode fiber, wrapped in kevlar, is woven through the fencing. With proper calibration, any cuts or shaking along the length of it can be used to send an alert with pretty specific location info. PTZ cameras can be called, through pre-sets that match the location information, to swing over for a tight view of the disturbance. Some handy cable routing can handle gates (Full disclosure: I'm not related at all nor have a used this technology, but a trusted local peer has and says it's pretty neat to watch in action).

The problem is a 1000 acre farm is really really big but the value of the contents inside the farm, relative to area, are likely quite low.

For simplicity's sake, a square 1000 acre farm is 30 acres by 30 acres, i.e., 6200 feet by 6200 feet, i.e., over 1 square mile (to be precise - 1.5625 square miles).

Pretty much all the solutions so far are going to cost a fortune. I know OP says 'no budget issues' but does that mean they are willing to spend $100k+ on surveillance?


I totally agree with you in regards to $100k budget.

The thing is that we have to give the client a proposal, whether it will be accepted or not, we can't say.

We were thinking of erecting pipe wiith flood lights, solar and hd ptz every 200m.


What is on this farm? Cows? Wheat? Gold?

What needs to be protected? Everything? Specific areas?

You could certainly blanket the whole 1000 acres with cameras and detectors but the most economical solution will come for tailoring to the specific areas with the greatest risk/value.

Solar power / wireless infrastructure. CF Spotter for notifications? PTZs to view video.

Since it's only 1000 acres environmental and terrain conditions won't really matter - neither will specific areas of coverage or intent... :-)

John H has a good answer here: I encourage performing a threat assessment and allowing that result dictate design. For example, are all 1000 acres equally vulnerable? Or just a stretch nearest a road? Do we really need to see every foot? Even countries at war with each other pick strategic points along the border to entrench and patrol. Find the weakest, most vulnerable spots, and build outward.

Start by addressing the most likely intrusion points. It not only simplifies design, it prevents you from wasting valuable time and money on designing a system where "budget is not an issue". In reality, it ALWAYS is an issue, especially with wealthy and corporate clients.

1000 acres? Unlimited budget? Hard core surveillance needs? Sounds like a pot farm....