Standing more than 300 feet tall from ground to torch, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes America and its values of democracy, freedom and promise. It has welcomed immigrants in search of the American dream, soldiers returning home from war and visitors to these shores for more than 100 years. Roughly four million people visit the monument and Ellis Island each year to step back through time and experience more than a century of American history.
The task of protecting a majestic, international symbol falls to a number of agencies, including the U.S. Park Police, National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of the Interior. The Statue’s interior closed to the public for renovations in 2011 and again in 2012 as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. As part of the refurbishment, Total Recall, a New-York based technology provider specializing in turnkey integrated video solutions, provided a state-of-the-art surveillance system with nine other security technology vendor partners. The new solution went online shortly before the Statue symbolically reopened on the Fourth of July in 2013 – eight months after Sandy.
Historic monument enters the security digital age
Total Recall designed, specified and supervised the last major security system overhaul for the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island in 1999, with the latest upgrade made in 2004. The 2013 surveillance deployment marks the first time an all-digital surveillance system has been installed at the monument. Previously, Liberty Island was covered by an analog CCTV system. Phase 1 of the project, now completed, covers the entire perimeter of Liberty Island, as well as the park’s security screening facilities and all 377 steps leading up to Lady Liberty’s crown.
The complete system redesign involved migrating from analog CCTV to IP-based digital video technology with the deployment of more than 150 network cameras. A robust broadband network was deployed, consisting of Proxim Wireless high-capacity, wide area wireless radios, supported by DragonWave multi-gigabit packet microwave units. This is the backbone on which the digital cameras communicate back to the central command center.
The majority of the network cameras come from Axis Communications, with both PTZ and fixed IP cameras providing high-definition video at 720p resolution or higher. These cameras were selected for their image quality and reliability. Specifically, the AXIS Q6035-E PTZ dome camera, which integrated with Total Recall’s CrimeEye solution, was chosen for its high performance in demanding applications and powerful zoom capabilities. AXIS P3364-V/-VE network cameras feature the unique Lightfinder technology, which maintains colors even in extremely poor, harsh or limited lighting conditions.
There are also several very low light, B/W Scallop imaging cameras with a 200-degree panoramic view monitoring the island’s perimeter. Like a team on the front lines, the Scallop cameras work in tandem with a low light, megapixel, controllable Axis PTZ camera to zoom in on details when necessary. Although the system only went live shortly before Independence Day, the NPS has already seen a marked difference in image quality.
With the new cameras and a mix of fiber and wireless connections, the NPS and U.S. Park Police can cover areas with video surveillance that could not be reached before, such as the critical security screening facilities.
System integration streamlines security operations
In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it was decided to move the central command center to a remote location well above flood elevation. The new intelligent and ultra-modern command center was built to support the new technology and was designed with the flexibility to scale up and double in size to accommodate outside agencies in cases of a multi-agency operation. The streamlined command center features ergonomically designed consoles by Winsted Corporation that allow operators to be as efficient and comfortable as possible in a high-stress environment. To further improve the viewing experience, a massive video wall powered by RGB Spectrum’s MediaWall 2900 display processor was installed to accommodate multi-camera viewing.