By Deborah O’Mara and Natalia Kosk
Surf’s Up for VMS and Analytics
CoastalCOMS deploys VMS and custom-built VCA for real time water risk management
When you picture some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, you’re no doubt envisioning long, curving expanses of white sand, clear blue waters and the soundscape of rolling waves. What may be missing from your mental scenario are the hidden dangers—powerful currents capable of sweeping an unassuming swimmer or surfer out to sea, or massive waves that can wreak havoc on everything in their path, not to mention dangers caused by the slower erosion of coastlines and other environmental hazards affecting humans and animals.
Born from its founders’ love of nature and seeking to provide fellow surfers with real-time wave and water conditions, Coastalwatch is an innovative Australian company that has the world’s coastlines under its high-tech eyes with networks of private and publicly owned surveillance cameras. CoastalCOMS (the company’s division) monitors several beaches along Australia’s Gold Coast, as well as coastal areas in western and southern U.S., Hawaii, and Denmark.
Employing a set of sophisticated analytics they developed, CoastalCOMS services the needs of international marine first responders and coastal managers by delivering environmental and marine data from beaches around the globe. CoastalCOMS’ cloud-hosted solutions monitor shorelines for state and local agencies worldwide, delivered via integration with Amazon Web services and various private cloud offerings.
The CoastalCOMS monitoring platform uses Milestone XProtect software to provide live video surveillance integrated with the company’s own analytics solutions. CoastalCOMS’ analytics software and multi-national network of hosted coastal cameras are also used for the collection of real-time data, such as wave height and wave period analysis, vessel monitoring, people counting on beaches, as well as tracking changes in the shoreline and general beach states. The software allows them to create ‘networks’ of coastal cameras on the fly, patterning and sourcing video from both new and existing beach cameras according to each customer’s needs. The video is then processed in real time for different groups based on their reporting needs and workflows.
Specifically designed to capture risk information about the powerful and unpredictable ocean environment, CoastalCOMS analytics dynamically measure individual waves and wave periods, while examining the shore and waterlines to determine the areas of change and identify hazards. Unique to the CoastalCOMS analytics offering, data is presented with a “level of confidence” metric associated with each measured output, ensuring both context and trust in the analytics results.
With the XProtect API, CoastalCOMS-enabled cameras can automatically re-position themselves based on alerts from external sensors or data feeds, such as a status change in an emergency management system, a Weather Service warning or alert, or a measured change that happens in front of the camera.
Coastalwatch uses mostly Sony cameras in their own network and the networks they install for clients. Their current solutions include a blend of Sony RZ25s with SNTEX101s in place, a huge install base of Sony RZ50s and a growing number of the newer HD lines including the SNCRH164 HD domes and the bullet style SNCCH180 HD cams.
Algorithms to analyze lifecycle water levels
CoastalCOMS is building on their years of research and expertise by applying their algorithms to analyze water levels throughout the watershed in areas like rivers, estuaries and flood plains. This application can provide valuable information for both private and government projects with a focus on emergency response, preparedness and risk management.