Monday, April 26, 2010

Parking lot security

The parking lot for my Townhouse Community has been suffering a rash of car prowls of late, and the idea was floated to point a camera at it to try and see what is going on over there. The idea, while great in theory just sounded like a lot of work to me. The parking garage for the building I work in has been suffering lately as well, and given the it needs to the security team I have been seeing first hand the amount of work that goes into identifying a person and tracking suspected prowlers, let alone reviewing footage to find evidence of break ins. To say the least when they asked me for a computer to look at the lot, my fist question was "Who will be reviewing the footage of the lot?"

No one strictly speaking wanted to tackle this one.  I think everyone thought the geek would take care of it.

Great, the camera and machine that records will likely not be setup in my home as I am about as far from the lot as it is possible to be, so I needed a way to remotely view recordings, and check in on the machine from time to time. That of course after I find a software package that can be configured to ignore certain areas of the frame so that trees and road traffic don't trigger the motion tracking and cause the software to record much more footage to be reviewed. After a little bit of testing I found Vitamin d and it appears to meet my needs pretty well. The software assumes a fairly stationary camera, and allows you to define motion areas, and filter the type of activity that will trigger the motion. I plan on using a HP KQ246AA 8.0 MP Deluxe Webcam that I had previously purchased, and run it on the very old and retired media center pc rocking a 1.8ghz Celeron. The machine seizes a little under load, but appears to be able to handle the task.

Having decided on the recording software, I figured I would be remotely controlling it via Logmein, but was stumped how to remotely view and delete the recordings that had been reviewed. I played with the idea setting up a webserver and writing my own app to play and delete the reviewed content, configuring a dynamic dns address, but in the end realized that just designing it was exhausting for something I didn't really want to do anyway.

Enter Orb. All I needed to do was setup an account, and then I could view the recordings online and delete the ones that where not interesting. I was most happy that it even supports the native mp4 video container vitamin D records in. Not too bad, free software and services enabling an ad hoc security service so that the reviewing duties can be shared amoung several people.

1 comment:

  1. Why did they name it like that? They will confuse people. but, it's a great strategy I guess. The vitamin d I know helps us to be healthy not as a surveillance