Surveillance System Integrates Sensors for Water Agencies

PureTech's platform moves through tests at water facility, designed to detect perimeter intrusions


Traditional systems available for water agencies in electronic security have typically included passive devices such as closed circuit TV with tape or digital recorders, perimeter fence intrusion systems and motion detection sensors.

New technology from PureTech Systems Inc. allows wide area surveillance systems to convert cameras into smart sensors that can detect, track and classify objects in specific regions created around the critical infrastructure being protected. The company's PureActiv[TM] system uses advanced algorithms to minimize the number of false alarms from changing lighting conditions, wind induced camera movement and objects that are of no interest (i.e. tree branches and leaves). The system also can automatically steer one or more cameras to the location of a perimeter breach identified by a fence intrusion detection system.

At a utility's SCADA control and monitoring center, the operator reacting to an audible alarm is presented with a GIS-based site map with the precise location of the alarm; a still image of the alarm event, a recorded video clip of the alarm event, live camera views, and pre-determined response instructions. The software includes video analytics that automatically detect, classify and track the object until the operator takes manual control of the camera.

The system has had a successful pilot test at a water utility in the Southwest. Because of security concerns, the utility asked that its name not be used. After the pilot, additional facilities and functions were added to the system. A water treatment plant was added that included more than 50 cameras and several different integrated perimeter systems, covering over a four mile perimeter.

The PureActiv Wide Area Surveillance System provides a number of features and benefits that directly address the security needs of water agencies. Some of these features include:

Object Detection, Classification and Tracking--

This system allows for detection of moving objects of significancewhile ignoring motion due to changes in lighting and weather conditions. After an object is detected, the software is able to determine if it is a human, car, truck or of another object type or class.

By classifying the object, the system is able to track only the objects that present a security risk and command pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras to follow them. In addition, rules can be pre-configured to detect particular activities such as classified objects moving in a specific direction, crossing into or out of a detection zone, speeding, loitering, and left behind objects, while ignoring objects that do notmeet the specified criteria.

Geographical Map Presentation--

Because water utilities typically have their assets distributed over wide geographic areas, a geographic mapping technology is used to provide a comprehensive common operating picture that includes the location and position of facilities, critical assets, surveillance equipment, cameras and their fields of view, real-time object tracks, andalarms tight on the map. This provides the operators a "real world" perspective of the sites under surveillance.

In addition, an "interactive" GIS layer allows security personnel to steer one or more cameras to a precise geographic locations by simply pointing and clicking on the GIS map. These systems can be integrated with existing GIS databases that may already be in use by the water agency.

Automated Camera Steering--

The system can automatically position cameras to look directly at the point of intrusion, without requiting camera preset programming or relay contacts between the camera and the sensor. This feature allows security personnel to respond to the situation and not be burdenedwith manually tracking the intrusion.

Fence Intrusion Detection--

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