FLIR PT Series cameras were used in a surveillance project to detect and monitor illegal fishing and poaching activities along the Spanish Galician coast. The FLIR thermal imaging cameras combined with maritime video analytics from Gradiant were ideal for spotting illegal vessels on a 24/7 basis and at a long range. The vastness of the Galician coastline and the multitude of fishing and farming activities call for a more automated surveillance approach.

Fishing, shellfish harvesting, and marine aquaculture - mainly mussel farming in inshore waters are important economic activities in Galicia (northwest of Spain). Local public authorities strictly control these activities to prevent exploitation, fish stock depletion and resulting economical losses. They are fighting a constant battle against this unfair and illegal competition that affects thousands of professionals who make a living from the fishing and seafood industry.

Challenges of coastal monitoring

Illegal fishing and poaching has an enormous impact on the environment and food safety

Illegal fishing and poaching of seafood resources also has an enormous impact on the environment and food safety; especially during periods of toxic algal bloom (red tides), when fishing conditions are hazardous for public health. The detection of unauthorized fishing and shellfish harvesting is of paramount importance for the Galician authorities.

However, monitoring and protecting all of Galicia’s inshore and offshore fisheries, shellfish harvesting areas, and marine aquaculture farms is a challenging task. Galicia has 1,200 km of coastline. Its protection involves the surveillance of activity in 122 ports, including around 5,000 fishing boats, 400 beaches dedicated to shellfish harvesting, and 47 mussel aquaculture farms, with a total of more than 3,000 bateas (floating mussel farms).

Long-range thermal imaging

Moreover, most illegal activity takes place at night, making it extra difficult for law enforcers to detect any type of vessel. The Galician climate does not help either. With an average of 128 days per year of rain, visibility conditions are usually not ideal for surveillance operations. Manned surveillance patrols can only do so much; they are hindered by the climate and visibility conditions, making it impossible (from a practical and financial standpoint) for coast guards to cover the entire Galician coastline.

In 2017, the Galician Coast Guard started a project to test video surveillance of the coastline based on thermal imaging cameras. The pilot included the use of FLIR’s PT Series multi-sensor camera, combined with maritime video analytics software from Gradiant (Pontevedra, Spain).

Multi-sensor installation

FLIR thermal images were enhanced by Gradiant’s intelligent video analytics software for maritime applications

The multi-sensor installation was extensively tested on two different locations along the Galician coast. One set-up was used to monitor illegal vessels on coastal waters at short/medium range, while another set-up was used for long-range monitoring. The PT Series thermal cameras allowed the Galician Coast Guard to monitor the required area over a long range on a 24/7 basis, even at night and in adverse weather conditions.

In addition, the FLIR thermal images were enhanced by Gradiant’s intelligent video analytics software for maritime applications. This software is specifically adapted for monitoring coastal environments and allowed the coast guard to detect, track and geo-localise people and vessels, including small wooden and plastic boats.

Visible-light camera

The software enabled the thermal cameras to detect objects and people despite adverse maritime conditions, such as high waves, low contrast due to low light, fog and rain, reflections on the sea surface, camera vibrations, and the presence of distractors, such as birds and vessel wakes.

The FLIR PT Series is a high-performance multi-sensor pan/tilt security camera, incorporating an uncooled thermal camera with sensitivity of <35mK and a visible-light camera with 36x optical zoom. While the thermal camera is used to detect threats over a long range based on their heat signatures, the visible-light camera can be used for verification and identification.

Long-range surveillance

The requirements for this long-range application were extremely challenging for any thermal camera"

“FLIR is the reference for long-range surveillance applications with thermal imaging,” says José Antonio Rodríguez, Head of Video Analytics at Gradiant. “The thermal performance of the camera and the fact that this technology is easy to set up makes it ideal for this type of application. In addition, FLIR supported us from the start for lens selection, calibration of the system and much more.”

“The requirements for this long-range application were extremely challenging for any thermal camera,” says Nikitas Koutsourais, Product Marketing Manager at FLIR Systems. “Thanks to the FLIR PT Series’ unique thermal sensitivity of less than 35mK, we could provide the best image performance in the market.”

IP video streaming

Two different configurations were used in this application. The long-range surveillance station used a FLIR PT-606 camera, and was able to detect a rubber inflatable boat at 4,000m. Despite its narrow field of view, this camera allowed for wide coverage thanks to the high-precision pan/tilt unit. The camera was able to sweep a wide field of view span in a pre-programmed sequence of pan/tilt presets.

The port surveillance station used a PT-625, offering a good compromise between detection range and field of view with a single pan/tilt preset. The integration of the video analytics software with the camera was easy thanks to IP video streaming and the camera’s ONVIF compliant interfaces for pan/tilt control. Long-range surveillance typically requires the use of lenses with a narrow field of view, which is a problem when you want to monitor wide areas.

Coastal protection applications

The FLIR thermal cameras provided the Galician coastguard with increased situational awareness

However, the video analytics from Gradiant was able to take advantage of the Preset Sequencing mode of the FLIR PT Series. This allowed the coastguard to cover a wide field of view with a single camera and to perform video analysis on each pan/tilt preset. The FLIR thermal cameras provided the Galician coastguard with increased situational awareness and allowed them to respond much quicker to illegal fishing activities.

The pilot project was performed in a realistic surveillance environment along the Galician coast and generated very positive results. The combination of a multi-sensor system with Gradiant’s maritime video analytics proved to be effective to deal with the intricate Galician coast lines and a lack of open view. In addition, this technology combination is a cost-effective alternative, making automated surveillance applications accessible for fish farm companies worldwide.

Extremely rugged systems

Finally, the PT-Series are extremely rugged systems, which makes them ideal for coastal surveillance, especially in an extremely humid environment such as the Atlantic coast of Spain. The system’s vital core is well protected against dust and water ingress, and complies with IP66 requirements.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco For $110 Million
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco For $110 Million

Motorola Solutions, Inc. today announced it has completed the acquisition of Pelco, Inc., a global provider of video security solutions based in Fresno, California. Pelco designs, develops and distributes end-to-end video technology, including video security cameras and video management system software. The company’s scalable solutions and commitment to service delivery enables customers of all sizes to mitigate risk, increase operational efficiencies and enhance safety.  “Video continues to play a more powerful role in enabling safer cities and securing businesses around the world,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. “Pelco’s track record of innovation, internationally recognized brand, global channel and customer installed base enable us to further expand our global footprint with enterprise and public safety customers.”

What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?
What are the Security Challenges of Protecting the Cannabis Industry?

The advent of a truly new market for the physical security industry is a rare occurrence. Particularly rare is a new market that is both fast-growing and provides an environment that is not just conducive to application of physical security technologies but that actually demands it. Such is the case with the market for legalized marijuana. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting the cannabis industry?

Wireless Technology Is Transforming Motion Detection
Wireless Technology Is Transforming Motion Detection

Motion detection is a key feature of security systems in residential and commercial environments. Until recently, systems have relied heavily on closed circuit television (CCTV) and passive infrared (PIR) sensors, which both require significant investment and infrastructure to install and monitor. Developments in wireless technology are increasing home security possibilities. Few years ago, these developments led Cognitive Systems to discover that the wireless signals surrounding oneself can be used to detect motion. Known in the wireless industry as WiFi sensing, this technology brings many benefits that other motion detection solutions have not been able to provide. The working of WiFi sensing At Cognitive Systems, the company has used WiFi sensing technology to develop a motion detection solution called WiFi Motion™, which measures and interprets disruptions in RF signals transmitted between WiFi devices. When movement occurs in a space, ripples in the wireless signals are created. WiFi Motion interprets these ripples and determines if an action, such as sending a notification, is needed. Enabling this functionality in a space is incredibly simple. With a software upgrade to only one’s WiFi access point (or mesh router), motion sensing capabilities are layered into one’s WiFi network. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors without detracting from their original functions or slowing down the network. Using artificial intelligence (AI), WiFi Motion establishes a benchmark of the motionless environment and learns movement patterns over time, which could be used to predict trends. This allows unusual movement patterns to be detected with greater accuracy while decreasing the potential for costly false alerts. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation WiFi sensing and other home monitoring solutions All of these capabilities are made possible by WiFi sensing and together create a motion detection system that provides unparalleled accuracy, coverage, privacy and affordability compared to other solutions on the market. PIR integration is far more complex and imposes electronic and physical design restrictions compared to WiFi sensing. In terms of placement, PIR systems are difficult to install, requiring line-of-sight and a device in every room for localization. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation and is also a scalable solution compared to PIR. Much like cameras, PIRs can only cover so much space, but WiFi Motion can cover the entire home and even detect motion in the dark and through walls, without adding additional devices to the home. WiFi Motion detects less distinguishing context than cameras and microphones, but more context than regular PIR sensors for the perfect balance of privacy and highly accurate motion detection. Privacy solution While cameras have been the security solution for years, WiFi Motion offers a more affordable solution that can rival the privacy and coverage capabilities of even the most high-end cameras. With such a wide coverage area, one might think that WiFi sensing infringes on privacy, but actually, the opposite is true. With WiFi Motion, the contextual information collected cannot be used to identify a specific individual, unlike cameras which can clearly identify a person’s face or microphones, which can identify a person’s voice. It is different from other smart home security options that use cameras and microphones because it only senses motion using WiFi signals - it doesn’t “see” or “listen” like a camera or microphone would. This provides opportunities for added security in spaces where privacy might be a concern and installing a camera may not be a comfortable solution, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. The data collected is also anonymized and highly encrypted according to stringent industry privacy standards. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors Additional WiFi sensing applications Since WiFi sensing technology requires no additional hardware or subscription fees, it is much more affordable than other motion detection solutions. It can be used as a standalone solution, or it can be easily layered into more complex systems. This ease of integration, scalability and relatively low cost brings a lot of potential for various applications. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off In eldercare, for example, WiFi sensing can be used to help seniors live comfortably in their homes for as long as possible. With the increasing aging population and high costs associated with care homes, the market for this application is considerable. Caregivers can use an app to monitor movement in their loved one’s home and be alerted about unusual movement patterns that could indicate a concern. For smart homes and other environments that have a network of smart devices, the artificial intelligence (AI) component of the technology allows for improvements to automated features. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off or make adjustments to the temperature in a room. Security for the commercial sector For office buildings and other commercial properties, it is easy to see how all of these features could be scaled up to offer a highly accurate and cost-effective motion sensing and smart device automation solution. Cognitive Systems is closely involved with the development of WiFi sensing technology, working with various industry groups to establish standards and help it reach its full potential. WiFi Motion is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of motion sensing possibilities, but its applications in the world of security are undeniably compelling. It is an exciting time for the wireless industry, as one works with stakeholders in the security space to explore everything this technology can do.