Nature Live is special project Netwatch embarked upon with Derek Mooney of Nature Live (RTE), Dublin Corporation, Dublin Bay Biosphere and The National Parks and Wildlife Service (DPWS). Netwatch were brought into the project for our technical expertise in 24/7 monitoring and surveillance.
The brief was simple: get a birds-eye view of grey herons nesting 60ft above the treeline in St Annes Park Raheeny. However, the process of placing a camera 75ft in above the canopy in a park without impacting the surrounding wildlife required some out of the box thinking in terms design, installation and camera steaming.
The project challenges
Designing bespoke security systems and camera setups is something we do on a daily basis however this project had some exceptionally unique challenges.
Challenge 1: Ensure the safety of the surrounding wildlife
Of paramount importance was to ensure the welfare of all wildlife in St Annes Park. We had to ensure our equipment did not impact the nesting of the Grey Herons or disturb the wildlife at ground level.
Challenge 2: Installing a camera 75ft high in a public park
We had never placed a camera on a free standing structure 75ft in the air before. We also had to come with a unique solution get power the cameras and internet connection to stream the footage.
Challenge 3: Ensuring public safety for our surrounding equipment.
The equipment we installed was in a public area. We had the ensure that the equipment was secure from public access and the hoist could not be accessed or climbed.
The Netwatch solution
Protecting the wildlife of St Annes Park
We relied heavily on the expertise of Derek Mooney, Staff of St Annes Park and the NPWS. They advised us on the nesting patterns of the grey herons, how to find a nest and installation of our equipment without disturbing the nearby wildlife.
Installation of the equipment
To reach this height we used mobile elevating work platform, as it was an effective temporary solution that reach the required height and allowed for operator camera readjustment and positioning. We also used one of our commander units which is a portable, self-supported Netwatch system which provides internet and streaming capabilities.
Securing the compound
With the hoist and commander in place we railed off the compound to ensure that members of the public could not easily gain access. We activated the Commander Unit’s onboard camera system so we could detect and issue audio warnings to anyone that attempted to enter the compound.
The specialist equipment and team behind the project
The camera was chosen specifically for this projects unique requirements. Typically, this type of camera is used on sites where our clients need to view sites live and move the camera remotely via an app.
Key camera features
- Motorised gyroscopic stabilisation which allows us to compensate for the camera sway in the wind.
- It is a pan, tilt, and zoom camera (PTZ). This gives us remote control to make adjustments
- Infrared – night vision
- 100m field of view
The Commander unit
The Commander Unit is the Netwatch System in an independent and portable format. It is typically used on building sites where there is no power or internet connection. In this instance, it had a dual purpose of protecting the compound and streaming the live camera feed from the nest.
Customer Relations and Commissioning team
This team were key liaisons with the multiple parties involved in this project. The team relied heavily on the advice from Derek Mooney, Dublin Bay Biosphere, DPWS, and Dublin Corporation on how best to establish a camera above the treeline without endangering the Grey herons or wildlife at ground level.
The installation team
Given the challenges and stakes involved, we used some of our most experienced team members to complete this project. Colm and Des with more than 20 experience years on the Netwatch Installation Team spent two days: locating an active nest, positioning the cameras for the best shot of the Herons, and securing the compound. The team finished the final phase by steaming the live camera feed to RTE.
The buzz around the Netwatch office
Genuine anticipation and interest grew around the office as the project progressed and there was a great sense of achievement finally viewing the Herons live in their nest.