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Hybrid for harbour

A case study of an upgrade to the CCTV at the harbour for Dublin, Dún Laoghaire. It’s managed by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) and has been a user of CCTV for many years.

The coax-cable analogue system covers mainly the ferry terminal and the immediate surrounds. However, even a once busy ferry operation takes up just a relatively small part of the harbour. With the East and West Piers separated by more than a kilometre at their mainland ends and extending far out into the Irish Sea, there is a large area contained by the two piers that has become home to many marine activity-based businesses, from a powerboat school to yacht clubs and a scuba diving centr;e and a large and still growing marina complex for private leisure craft. Around the older ferry terminal, restaurants and car parks have developed.

DLHC became concerned that its analogue CCTV was only giving them a good overview of the ferry terminal – and not providing surveillance of the new areas. The Cork-based Hikvision distributor Mercury SD was called in.

Kevin O’Connell, System Designer at Mercury SD said: “Providing effective surveillance throughout Dun Laoghaire Harbour was a challenging prospect. The landside of the harbour is an increasingly busy and crowded area, the older ferry terminal now surrounded by a large number of newer tourist hotspots and commercial areas, and then we also had to consider the explosion of water moorings and activities that the old system was never designed to accommodate. The whole focus of the CCTV surveillance system had to change into one that encompassed the whole harbour complex. The harbour is also highly prone to extremely variable weather conditions, including frequent occurrences of high winds, severe rain and fog. Visibility can go from clear to poor in minutes and this means any new CCTV system that has a remit to concentrate its surveillance on the exposed harbour walls and marina complex should be capable of coping with the worst of these environmental extremes while continuing to deliver clear images.

“Finally, DLHC were keen to retain the existing analogue system if possible whilst extending the reach of the CCTV system to the entire 100 hectare site.”

Kevin O’Connell and others at Mercury SD made three site visits to the harbour before proposing a hybrid solution. That would retain all the coax cable laid within the harbour and concentrate the analogue cameras to cover the ferry terminal and its surrounds. Some of the new Hikvision IP cameras were then added to the coax cabling using IP over coax transceivers while the IP cameras intended to extend the reach and scope of the CCTV to the more far-flung reaches of the harbour were linked in using Ubiquiti wireless links. All the cameras link back to the pair of Hikvision hybrid recorders, in the harbour office near the ferry terminal, from where a PTZ camera in the lighthouse is controlled.

Kevin said: “All the new cameras offer Hikvision’s SMART imaging and detection, most prominently the Smart Defog and Smart IR features. These technologies in particular were a huge selling point for the new solution, overcoming the problems that burdened the old CCTV system when the harbour was beset by the unpredictable weather, even though most of the analogue cameras were indoors.”

A Smart Defog feature modifies the image correction algorithm to improve the whole image’s visibility and clarity in poor weather. And Smart IR addresses the common problem of over-exposure of infra-red LEDs at the centre of images, automatically adjusting the IR strength to improve visibility.

All except one of the new cameras were enclosed in a marine grade housing; being DS-2CD4012F 1.3 megapixel SMART IPC units with DS-2CD4032F-A 3 megapixel pieces. The Hikvision DS-2DF7284-A network IR speed dome was installed at the lighthouse. Also fitted in busy areas such as stations and airports, it oversees some of the busiest parts of the harbour and is a core CCTV feed for the harbour. This PTZ camera covers 360 degrees through its endless high-speed panning, offers a 20x optical zoom to detect details and combines this with an IR range of up to 120 metres. The camera can also be shared by the emergency sea rescue services.

Kevin added: “At the centre of the new surveillance solution are Hikvision DS-9016HFI-ST 16/16 Hybrid Recorders, which enabled us to retain the majority of the older analogue cameras while adding in the Hikvision IP units. The DS-9016HFI-ST features H.264 video compression, a recording resolution of up to 5 megapixels, 16 channel synchronous playback, and also HDMI and VGA output at up to 1080p, alongside a storage capacity of up to 12TB.”

And Tim Ryan, Harbour Manager at Dun Laoghaire said: “The Hikvision system specified has exceeded our initial expectations. We use the system 24 hours a day to monitor the inner harbour area, consisting of car parks, walkways, buildings, busy junctions and ship berthing areas. We have been able to provide An Garda Siochana (the police force) with evidence for a number of incidents that have occurred since the installation. In each case the coverage and quality of footage was of a high standard. The DS-2DF7284-A PTZ camera installed at our East Pier Lighthouse has proven beneficial in assisting with Search and Rescue and has the capability to be utilised by the local Coast Guard unit to monitor and record an incident on land or sea. Our recording equipment allows us to archive footage for approximately 60 days, which is also hugely beneficial to us.”


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