Surf's Up for VMS and Analytics

CoastalCOMS deploys VMS and custom-built VCA for real-time water risk management


CoastalCOMS began its own transition to a virtual environment years ago and by 2008 they were running most of their systems 100 percent offsite, not just in virtualized data centers but across public clouds like Amazon Web Services and private clouds in Australia.

"Using our hosted platform we've deployed 3G/4G mobile surveillance units with Hawaiian guards, using a Sony SNC RZ50N camera that automatically reports to the cloud when turned on, notifying lifeguards and IT support when the cameras are deployed on the beach. This unit also has a VoIP loud hailer for communication of warnings to the beach-going public. The fact that these units are movable means cameras can be deployed when and where they are needed, automatically giving remote eyes to lifeguards in areas of concern," explained Chandler.

In January, Coastalwatch was awarded the 2011 Pioneer Award at the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Awards for CoastalCOMS WavePak processing technology. The annual award is given to a person, group or organization that has broken new ground and contributed to the enhancement and innovation of surfing.

Specifically designed to capture information about the powerful and unpredictable ocean environment, CoastalCOMS analytics dynamically measure individual waves as well as periods of wave movement, examining the shore and waterlines to determine the areas of change and identify hazards.

"Rips form based on the dynamic changes in coastal environments and rips are a major cause of death by drowning. Monitoring beaches and proactively identifying dangerous conditions helps first responders identify hazards and manage risk on remote, public beaches," concluded Chandler.

Grant Gets Ball Rolling for CoastalCOMS

CoastalCOMS' work in analytics started almost 10 years ago with a grant backed by the Australian Research Council, partnering with the Gold Coast City Council and Griffith University. Initial work centered on using Coastalwatch.com surf cameras for remote sensing on beaches, with following work under the Queensland Government's Smart State Initiative focusing on identification of beach hazards for risk assessment in life saving areas.

Over the years, working with grant partners like Surf Life Saving Australia, Surf Life Saving Queensland, Griffith University and Gold Coast City Council, CoastalCOMS has reached a point where it is now a grant partner in one of the largest beach video processing efforts to date. From 2011 to 2013 CoastalCOMS will work with partners University of New South Wales, Macquarie Unversity, University of Plymoth (UK), NSW Department of Climate Change and coastal councils to complete a three-year study of 10 beaches using CoastalCOMS analytics for beach width and shoreline studies.