City Surveillance: Geutebruck Video Is Preserving the Old and Securing the New in Prague
The iconic and world-famous Charles Bridge in Prague is a tourist attraction spanning the Vltava River and is a magnet for visitors but its popularity has given rise to concerns relating to both safety and conservation. A significant number of tourists were ignoring the signs and mounting its statue-punctuated balustrades to be photographed with King Wenceslas or one of the other stone saints. This behavior, which could be risky for the participants and potentially damaging for the stonework, is now immediately detected by the video analysis running on the video streams from the bridge cameras.
In the Czech capital of Prague the city council uses Geutebruck video technology to make the city safer and to protect its world famous architectural and cultural heritage. The images from the 2,500-plus cameras which monitor many of Prague's streets, schools, underground and surface rail lines as well as historic buildings and monuments are all recorded and managed using Geutebruck equipment. The extensive use of video analytics with lots of different automatic alarm scenarios enables system operators to provide human attention or intervention efficiently whenever and wherever it is required.
An automatically generated alarm alerts city police at a nearby police station for them to deal promptly with the incident, and the system's video recordings are available for evidential purposes should legal proceedings subsequently ensue. On the bridge, the manufacturer's outdoor video analytics VMD demonstrates its ability to differentiate between clambering humans and the birds which often alight on the statues. It provides effective service because it operates reliably in all weathers without generating weather-related alarms.
The city council has been investing in Geutebruck video technology since 2006 and has an ongoing program of upgrading and expansion. In this context, the expansion-friendly, modular structure of the manufacturer's systems is key, as is the backwards compatibility guarantee which provides reassurance that existing equipment will always remain usable, even in systems which grow indefinitely.
Other valued system features include high reliability, as well as support for many failover scenarios which are available to ensure that system availability is as high as the particular situation warrants.
The most recent significant expansion to the city's video monitoring operation has been the provision of surveillance in the new Blanka tunnel. This 6 kilometer long extension to the City Circle road tunnel is currently being constructed to the north west of the city center. Due for completion in May 2014, it is hoped that this tunnel network will alleviate traffic congestion in the center of Prague and restore calm to this World Heritage site.