Video surveillance with 'exception detection'

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is adopting advanced video surveillance technology that uses 'exception detection' software to pinpoint suspicious activities within parts of its railroad system, such as unattended packages and suspicious persons.

Developers of exception detection systems emphasize that even the most conscientious security officer who monitors multiple video cameras to check for suspect activity loses the ability to concentrate fully after a period ranging up to an hour.

The exception detection approach ' termed 'video analytics' in the Maryland railroad's installation ' boosts efficiency and security by screening images from multiple video cameras and showing security personnel only the images from cameras pointed at potentially untoward events.

The MTA is using video technology provided by ARINC, part of the Carlyle Group, under a contract partially funded by the U.S. Homeland Security Department.

The Baltimore Metro subway, the Baltimore light rail system and the MARC commuter train service will use the video monitoring equipment at select stations to automatically detect unusual movement or suspicious activity.

Remote-controlled cameras will focus on station platforms, surrounding areas and equipment, and will stream video images to a central monitoring facility. Using "video analytics," the system will scan for suspicious or unusual activity, including intrusion and suspicious packages, and alert operators of potential problems. Images are saved for a period of time for future analysis.

At the central monitoring facility, security officers will be able to view a map of the MTA system and navigate through the system to select individual cameras for viewing on a main screen. Operators will also be able to select additional camera views to see the surrounding area.

MTA will begin using the system by early 2008.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.


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