Coast Guard’s Vessel Monitoring


From its command center at the Port of Miami, the Coast Guard monitors commercial vessels using Project Hawkeye, which gives the Coast Guard the ability to identify and track vessels in harbor and coastal waters.

Hawkeye’s sensors, long-range cameras, night-vision and infrared capabilities are viewed at a command center, much like a security guard watches over facilities on closed circuit television.

The Port of Miami provides an operating test bed, with 10,000 vessels arriving annually. By the end of the summer, the Coast Guard will finalize Version 1.3 of Hawkeye’s software—the command and control and decision-support piece—which has been developed from government-owned vessel traffic software from Northrop Grumman.

“After this summer, we’ll be able to replicate Hawkeye more easily at other ports,” Goward said.

The automatic identification system, required for domestic and foreign vessels over a certain tonnage, identifies the vessel’s name, its course, speed, and its latitude and longitude.

The Port of Miami also has a US Customs-operated Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System. VACIS is a non-intrusive gamma ray imaging system – capable of penetrating up to 6 inches of steel –, which produces radiographic images of the objects being inspected, such as containers, trucks and passenger vehicles.

The Senate voted April 26 to move $2 billion for spending on Border Surveillence. If the Coast Guard installs a 50 Mbps WiMAX microwave system down the length of the Columbia River (map), you’d think they could share the cost of the infrastructure. Even make it self-sustaining.

Any Joe Blow can provide vessel monitoring on the cheap.

Link ten to twenty $500 WiFi cameras, like the 8 megapixel Nikon Coolpix P3 ($400) along a river. A Rebel XT ($700) can be driven by Breeze Systems software ($100). Nikon’s Capture 4.4 ($99) and Camera Control Pro support their DSLRs. Both run on an UltraMobile PC ($700).

The $99.95 LifeCam VX-6000 can capture still images at 5.0 megapixels interpolated and HiDef video at 1.3 megapixels.

A Zoom Server like Social Canvas allows multiple users to (virtually) zoom in on a small section of a still image. It seems inevitable that end users will do it themselves. Take charge and move out.

Related DailyWireless articles include Border Surveillence, How To Spend Your Homeland Security Check, Seattle To Portland Wi-Fi Proposal, Wireless Birdhouses, Disaster Mapping, Tracking RF-ID and Googleplex in Oregon.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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