A Successful PTZ Auto Tracking Case

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 19, 2012

Auto Tracking functions in PTZs are oversold, but in certain cases can have real value. In this note, we examine a successful case study using Auto Tracking, describe the problem it solved, and provide details on how common pitfalls were avoided.

The Problem

As an integrator, I worked on a project that involved a novel application of autotracking at an airport facility. The customer asked for a camera to capture the tail numbers of aircraft entering a flightline and cross reference them with time/date stamps as an 'operational log' confirming when particular aircraft were active.

The goal of this project was to automate a process that otherwise required a staff member with a pair of binoculars to manually document activity. This staff member monitored two 'takeoff queing' areas, where aircraft would temporarily be staged before becoming airborne. Aircraft would stay in these areas for an average of 10 minutes, but sometimes for as little as 30 seconds depending on airfield traffic.

Because of the size of the stanging area, and the physical distance from the cameras, it was determined that fixed cameras were not sufficient to cover the area. The customer agreed that a dedicated camera for each takeoff area was optimal, however either camera needed to cover both takeoff areas, so an auto-zoom lens was also required.

Whatever solution was designed, the customer required that cameras must record activity to a 'high degree of confidence' so that no takeoff activities could be missed. The system had to pick up on registration numbers on every aircraft in all situations. Anecdotally, the customer said "Recording 99% of flights is passable, but only 98% is not acceptable." 

The Solution

After a successful 'proof of concept' test, it was determined a PTZ camera with autotracking would be provide a novel solution. The flexibility of the camera, coupled with the 'smartness' of the camera would enable the camera to be positioned to record tail numbers no matter where they might appear with range of the camera.

Two Axis PTZs with were installed onsite. The autotracking was configured within travel stops, so the camera would not be 'distrated' by insignificant movement outside of the intended FoV. Additionally, the camera was programed to return home after 3 minutes of inactivity to prepare for next flight.

Overview of Auto Tracking

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The central element 'automating' the entire process was use of an autotracking feature. Here is a short marketing video demonstrating how the feature typically works:

The risk in relying on this feature is that like any analytic, it would not detect targets accurately. In this case, alternate plans to integrate motion sensors within a takeoff area were planned as an option. However, upon installation, the autotracing designed to be very successful and worked within the goal parameters. 

After a 'burn-in' period of two weeks, the customer was able to reassign the staff previously devoted to monitoring to other activities, and the project was considered a success.

Why It Worked

This deployment worked because auto-tracking was very tightly controled in a very controlled environment:

  • Tight Scene: The tracking movements were limited to a rather tight space, approximately a 60 foot box. Rather than a situation where the camera is asked to detect movement in a broad area, the area defined in this application was only a fraction of the entire scene.
  • No 'Interfering Noise': The only movement being tracked was within a restricted area with slow moving targets, generall moving in only one direction (away from camera). No 'movement noise' because it was restricted area, background was a tarmac with even lighting, color and no background movement.
  • Images Only: Only visual 'picture' data was collected, no OCR or numerical data was gathered. Unlike LPR applications, the pictures did not need to be read for data, and only a focused image of the registration numbers were required.
  • Home Position: Camera was programed to return 'home' after a period of time. Staging the camera in a central position allowed the camera to immediately pick up on new movement.
Cost/Benefit
 
 
The customer purchased two PTZs, and in return was able to free up 24 labor hours per day. The former staffed position was as 24/7/365 operation, and three shifts of workers were reassigned to other duties. In this project, the cameras quickly 'paid for themselves' by increasing the productivity of existing staff.

Conclusion

Surveillance cameras can be adapted into operational roles, and in some cirmstances provide unique solutions. In this situation, the combination of a tighly controlled environment coupled with powerful camera features resulted in a success story.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Phone Camera Calculator Released on Mar 10, 2020
IPVM has released the first-ever Phone Calculator, video surveillance design software that you can use on your phone, without installing an...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
Last Chance - Camera Course Winter 2020 on Jan 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
IPVM Opens 12,000 Sqft Testing Facility on Dec 16, 2019
IPVM is proud to announce the opening of the world's first video surveillance testing facility that will allow us to significantly expand our...
ZeroEyes Gun Detection Startup on Jul 16, 2019
A gun detection video analytics startup, ZeroEyes, is being led by a group of 6 former Navy SEALs, aiming to "save lives" by using AI to assist...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...
China PRC Government New National Video Surveillance Standards on May 14, 2019
The People's Republic of China (PRC) government has released a new set of overarching standards for authorities to follow when they install video...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...
Verkada Wins $783,000 Memphis Deal on Apr 29, 2019
The US city, most famous in video surveillance for standardizing on Hikvision, has issued an RFQ for 962 Verkada cameras due Wednesday, May 1,...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

LIVE NOW "Fever Camera" Show on Jun 02, 2020
IPVM is excited for the world's first "Fever Camera" show, to be held today Tuesday, June 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd from 11am to 4pm EDT, giving...
Smart Entry Systems Presents Cloud Multi-Tenant Access Control on Jun 02, 2020
Smart Entry Systems presented Cloud Multi-Tenant Access Control at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video...
Genetec Drops Support for Dahua and Hikvision on Jun 01, 2020
Genetec has dropped support for Dahua and Hikvision, citing US blacklisting and ONVIF conformance blockage, the company informed partners in an...
Dotty "Hot Or Not" Elevated Body Temperature App Tested on Jun 01, 2020
What if you could take an existing phone or tablet and transform it into "fever camera"? That is what DottyAR is doing with their strangely named...
Optris "Fever Screening Systems" Examined on Jun 01, 2020
German manufacturer Optris has been building temperature measuring instruments for industrial manufacturing for over 15 years, and thermal cameras...
Fever Camera Sales From Integrators Surveyed on Jun 01, 2020
Fever cameras are the hottest trend in video surveillance currently but how much are integrators selling them? 220 integrators answered the...
Proxy Presents Mobile Credentials For BLE Devices and Access on May 29, 2020
Proxy presented Mobile Credentials For BLE Devices and Access at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video...
ISC West 2020 Moves To The Basement on May 29, 2020
The twice cancelled/postponed show will now not only be held in a different month (October) but on a different floor, moving down to the...
Integrators Avoiding Coronavirus Air Travel on May 29, 2020
IPVM asked integrators if air travel is part of their 2020 plans to see how significantly Coronavirus will impact future...
Viakoo Presents Cyber Hygiene for Cameras on May 28, 2020
Viakoo presented its 'Cyber Hygiene' and 'Service Assurance' products at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A...