Why Does This Airport Screening Area Have 15+ Cameras?

Take a look:

This is from JFK in New York that a member sent in. There's 8 cameras on a single column alone.

Is this a NY thing? Are airports adding more cameras? I try to check out cameras at airports but I don't recall them having this many cameras.

>> Insert Avigilon 29MP reference here <<

Anyone with any experience or insights on this?


Of the airports I've flown out of in the past year (PHL, Laguardia, Atlanta, Vegas, Denver, Newark), none of them had anything close to this crazy. Laguardia was the last one I was through and I remember thinking it was relatively sparse in surveillance. So they either don't get this crazy or they're using more unobtrusive cameras and they simply didn't register with me.

Then again, JFK might just be paranoid, considering people keep ending up on the tarmac from Jamaica Bay.

I think that it is just the method and type of camera used. They used box cameras in "ugly" outdoor housings. Most airports use dome cameras recessed in the ceiling with smoke bubbles so you can't see them as much. Some also use multiple box cameras in a single bubble in the ceiling. You can often count a dozen or more cameras covering a security area (BWI, BOS, PVD). Usually, they have specific needs - such as viewing the front and rear of the x-ray, the metal detector, the queue, etc...

I think this picture is an example of poor planning and possibly just adding on and on without re-thinking the best solution. Another example is DEN. They have Axis box cameras mounted to the wall (by the train) and on pillars. The problem is that they re all exposed and some are in easy reach. You could move the camera or disconnect the lens or network cable. You also know exactally where it is pointed, and can see the blinking network lights, etc...

My guess is that the lowest bidder threw something together and a security expert or consultant was never consulted.

Picture of DEN. The ceiling is about 100 feet up, so the box cameras are mounted to short pillars. http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/i/streams/2013/November/131113/2D9676693-131113-tsa-security-hmed-1030a.jpg

Maybe they need another camera... :)

It's actually a requirement of the airport authority. They just completed this deployment across the airports at JFK about 6 months ago. We actually designed these camera layouts for terminal 4 and 5 at JFK to this standard. Without giving away the restricted info about the views, let's just say that every inch of the checkpoint and screening process is on camera.

Rene, thanks!

Can you provide any insights into why it's so overt / ugly? I am not talking about the views but the outdoor housings, how they stick out, etc.?

They had only approved the Sony camera for the project, both box and dome. Depending on the location, the ceilings were not spportive of domes due to the height. For Terminal 4, we went with pole with box and dome cameras to provide the specific project views. We fully modeled the entire checkpoint and developed a camera app in Revit which allowed us to verify each camera view prior to install. If you look in the background of the picture, we also have cameras in the light trays also.

There is a great possibility that many of these cameras have nothing to do with security. They could be testing (or adopted) a system like TARGIT for business operation purposes. To get great business intelligence, maybe you need a lot of cameras for accurate analytics?

Update - I should point out that TARGIT is in Airports. You would not know this by looking at their home page. (Link)

Update 2 - In the Dublin airport they use a lot of cameras in the x-ray area because they use individual "Storyboards" for each area to operate better and know what is exactly going on in the TARGIT system. This came from the video that explains them moving the system from Retail to the rest of the airport operations.

The live demo at the end of video is interesting.

From what I've ever experienced I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt the TSA cares how efficient their processes are!

TSA? Where did you pull this info? The Authority does care about operations.

Aren't those TSA drones scurrying around in the picture?

This project was not driven by the TSA...it was driven by the Airport Authority.

Ahhhh well, that makes much more sense! The Airport Authority would actually care.

That’s nothing, I’m in tampa right now and I have counted at least 10 of these surround domes. They're all in small areas too.