Gold Coast security cameras go digital

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Gold Coast security cameras go digital

Terabyte hard disks replace tape.

The Gold Coast City Council is migrating its security camera network from an analogue to digital system.

CCTV integrator Grace Electronics has been engaged to perform the upgrade, which cost a total of $790,000, and was supported in part by $240,000 from the State Government.

New archive servers had been deployed in control rooms in Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach to process and store the digital information.

Each server runs Windows Server 2003, contains 24 one-terabyte SATA drives in a RAID array, and can handle and store video footage from 40 cameras for one month.

Grace Electronics's managing director Anthony Grace said the digital footage would be more flexible and be of higher quality than analogue video.

"On the old analogue system, you had to do everything with tapes. That's the way things worked when we started 10 or 12 years ago; it was just clumsy," he told iTnews.

"Because hard disk storage is so cheap, we can record digital footage with at least the quality of a standard TV set, in almost real-time," he said, noting that the archive servers would store footage at 12 frames per second.

The security camera network was to be operated by a security company that would be contracted by the Council via a tender process.

Operators accessed recordings via 'operating viewing platforms', which were either Dell or HP PCs running Windows XP Pro - for "stability", Grace said.

Data from the network's 103 cameras would be stored for a maximum period of one month, unless footage of specific incidences was required to be archived for longer.

The Gold Coast City Council received 307 requests for recorded evidence by law enforcement agencies in 2009, and detected a total of 978 "incidences" during that period, it reported.

The network monitored popular recreation spots, including Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta, Broadbeach and Southport, providing "an additional set of eyes that report back to a central place," Mayor Ron Clarke said in a statement.

Currently, data was transmitted between Surfers Paradise, Southport and Broadbeach via 8 Mbps private SHDSL links that were provided by local ISP On The Net.

Data from Coolangatta was transmitted via a 1 Mbps Telstra ADSL2 connection; however, Grace described plans to deploy a 100 Mbps microwave link along the line of sight to Broadbeach.

While the network did not currently utilise automated surveillance technology like face recognition, Grace said the Council was considering such technology.

New software would be easy to implement, he said: "We could integrate it [facial recognition] into the new system."

The digital camera network was expected to be fully operational by the end of the financial year.

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