Dealing with Gaps in Surveillance Coverage

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 14, 2011

Gaps, or holes, in one's surveillance coverage is a fact of life for most organizations. Unfortunately, it can become a painful fact when incidents occur in areas where surveillance coverage is inadequate or missing. Often, users, management and outside observers cannot understand why this 'mistake' happened. In this note, we examine the key tradeoffs and options involved in dealing and minimizing gaps in surveillance coverage. We conclude with a video screencast to show these principles in action.

A February 2010 article criticizing surveillance in Mumbai rail stations is a good example of the frustration and concern gaps create:

  • "*****-******* ******* ** **** ******** *** ****** ** ******** ****** and ** *** ***** *** ****** **** ****** *** ****** often **** ** **** ****** ** ***** ******."
  • "*** ***** ** *** **** *** ******* *** ** *** blurry ****** ** *********. *** ******* ****** **** ** ***** 180 *******. ** **** ********** ** *** ******** **** *****"

***** **** **** ** ********* *** ** ** *** **** the ******* ** **** ****, ** *** ****** ******* **** general ********** **** ****** ************ *********:

  • Very ****** ***** *** ***** **** *****: If you want to capture a clear image of someone's face that can be used to identify a person, even with a 1080p HD camera, the maximum width of your cameras' FoV can be no more than about ** **** ** ** ******. ****** *** *** ** * **** ***** ******** *********** everywhere (*.*., * **** ******), ********** **** *******/****** ** ********* difficult / *********. *************, ***** *** ***** ** ** ***** captured ** *** ****** *** *** ****** ** ** ******* of *********** ** ******* *******.
  • Restrictions ** ****** **********: Often, you know a certain area needs surveillance but have major logistical barriers placing a camera. This frequently happens when ceilings are very high or there are no walls or poles close by to mount the camera. In those cases, cameras are frequently mounted in areas where it is cheaper / less complex. Additionally, sometimes there are ideal places for mounting cameras but other stakeholders block camera placement for aesthetic reasons.
  • Use ** ***** ******: Because it is difficult to capture high quality video everywhere, most organizations focus their coverage on choke points (typically doorways/entranceways) that are relatively narrow and funnel people. Choke points are always a good tool. However, there are 2 common issues:
  • Open **** **********: Some facilities, by design, are open areas. Common examples include parks, city centers and smaller rail stations. In these scenarios, there are vey few 'natural' choke points and a high probability that people will enter from many directions.
  • Tracking ******* **** ** ***** *****: Even if you have a choke point, incidents often occur outside of those choke points. An example is a person entering a stadium and then causing a fight near their seats. While the camera may capture a detailed image of the suspect entering, the video of the fight may be blurry. Tracking that person with a blurry image back to their entrance can be quite difficult.

*** *** ** ***** *******, ********* ** ***** ************ ******* to ******** **** ******* ** * ********* ***********. ******, **** explains *** ********** *** *** ******** *** ** *** (************) cameras.

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** ******

** *** ***** *****, ** ******* * ****** **** ****** layout ************* *** ********* *** **** * ************ ******** *****:

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*************** ** ******** *** ******* **** ****

  • ********* ********** ** *** **** ******** *** **** ** ****** gaps. *******, ** ** ************ ** *** ***** *****, **** multi-megapixel ***** **** ******** ** ********* ****** ** ******* ***** over ****** *****.
  • ***** **** ** ******** *** *********** **********, **** **** ** communicated ** ***** ** *** ************ ** **** **** *********** expectations
  • ****** ***** *** ***** ** ********* **** ** ***** *** also **** *** **** ** ******* ******** **** ***** ** getting ********* ** ***** ******* ** **** ************ *********
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