Live video is a great resource for entertainment, whether for sporting events, awards shows, or even live concerts. Beyond entertainment, however, it’s also an impressive tool for monitoring and education, and plays a big role in sustainability efforts throughout the world. Live video can be used to prevent natural disasters through the monitoring of ecosystems, cleanup efforts, and machine maintenance on large-scale oil operations.
Observing Underwater Ecosystems
Underwater cameras help with mapping and monitoring coral reefs to track changes in the environment over time. Photo and video views of coral reefs contribute to 3D models of the environment, allowing divers to focus on other aspects of the ecosystem while in the water, while their counterparts at the lab study the details in real time. Additionally, the 3D models created from underwater camera footage serve as a basis for designing artificial coral reefs. Scientists use 3D-printed coral reefs to mimic the natural environment, provide healthy habitats for fish during the restoration process and potentially encourage new coral reef growth. They can then monitor their efforts through continued live video feeds with remote-controlled cameras.
Underwater cameras are useful for other aspects of ocean life, too. The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California uses live deep-sea video to survey nearby fish populations. They designed a device that includes eight cameras and is able to withstand rocky underwater conditions. It sends live footage of the area back to researchers for observation. This research advances the recovery of fish species that have been subject to overfishing, as well as preventing overfishing from happening in the first place, and it does all this with minimal interruption to the ecosystem. The data collected helps local fisheries and consumers know which fish are best to sell and buy at a given period in time in order to maintain a healthy balance in the ecosystem and promote a sustainable approach to eating seafood.
Oil Spill Cleanup and Oil Rig Surveillance
For surveillance of oil rigs, it may be important to oversee several locations at once. Incorporating a Mixer provides a complete overview of cameras throughout the operation even while on the go. The Mixer takes video from several sources and outputs a single stream with the audio and video feeds. Although there are already heat sensors on machinery to prevent accidents before they happen, using a Mixer provides a second layer of security. The single-stream viewpoint makes daily surveillance checks easy and allows staff to quickly report any equipment malfunctions or other damages in real time.
Oil rig malfunctions and operation mistakes are not the only origins of oil spills. Natural disasters, collisions with other boats and machinery, and vandalism are also recurring causes of spills. Thanks to live video, security teams are alerted to these issues instantly, if not moments before they happen, allowing them to call for emergency services. Response time is crucial in preventing oil spills from spreading. In an emergency, live monitoring aids response teams in minimizing environmental impact by getting to the scene quickly.
If a spill does happen, oil cleanup operations use a combination of UV, visible, and infrared cameras to view and monitor the intensity of oil spills during the cleanup process, to ensure that all areas are sufficiently cleaned. Cameras with UV sensors help detect thin layers of oil that may not be visible to the naked eye, and infrared cameras are used for monitoring the thicker layers of oil. This data broadcasts to team members guiding the operation. Although the goal is to prevent oil spills from happening in the first place, video is an important feature of emergency response plans to reduce damage to the environment.
Monitoring Volcanic Activity
Video surveillance is also important in areas with volcanic activity, such as Mauna Loa in Hawai’i, which erupted for the first time in 38 years on November 27, 2022 and has had continuous lava flow since.
Generally, when monitoring volcanic activity, a system of webcams is used in conjunction with seismic data and volcanic gas monitoring to predict eruptions. Video surveillance makes it possible to watch for eruption plumes or physical changes to the landscape as volcanic activity increases. Video lets geologists observe existing lava eruptions from a distance to assess damage and collect data without risking health complications due to exposure.
Since volcanos often erupt infrequently, the path of lava flow is unpredictable. In the case of Mauna Loa, as the lava flow draws closer to a main highway on the Big Island, live video observation supports efforts to protect the public and make the decision to close the highway or evacuate nearby communities if necessary. Recordings of the event may also be of service to future generations in the prediction of volcanic activity on the Big Island.