The Intelligent Route: Public Area Surveillance
From Analog Technology to Intelligent Systems
With the introduction of Dallmeier video surveillance in public areas, one of mayor Jean-Paul Bosland’s main aims is to protect people and property in places where aggressive behavior and thefts occur more frequently. But he also intends it to provide protection for public buildings and facilities, to monitor traffic and to detect traffic violations.
The French town of Gaillard has grown from a predominantly farming village into a town with 200 hectares dedicated to commercial vegetable growing and 200 hectares of town development. Since the early 1960s, the population has almost tripled, and now numbers 11,500 residents from 110 different countries. It shares its main transport link with the municipality of Thonex (Switzerland). Forty thousand vehicles pass through the town every day.
So by the early 2000s, the question of security was already an important issue for the town council, and the prevention and security policy has high priority on the Gaillard political agenda. It is then not surprising that Gaillard now serves as a pilot community both for public surveillance and for the deployment of the very latest technology.
Prevention and Security Policy
At the start of the project, the town of Gaillard wanted a surveillance concept with extremely high recording reliability. In 2007, Dallmeier was the only manufacturer that was capable of presenting a recorder concept with blade technology. The company’s concept was selected in a public call for tenders; the original project approval was awarded for the “Porte de France” district in February 2007 and involved the acceptance of seven Dallmeier PTZ dome cameras. This was also the signal to begin implementing a video surveillance system for the town, which has undergone continuous expansion and improvement ever since.
The logical next step followed in 2008 with the introduction of a monitoring center for the town, called the Center de Supervision Urbain or CSU for short, to manage the cameras and analyze the recorded data. In the CSU, which was set up in the town’s police headquarters, the Dallmeier Semsy video management system forms the basis for effective, centralized control of the systems.
At the moment, a total of 51 cameras and the data they deliver converge in the CSU. Thierry Plonka, the head of the town police force in Gaillard, has no doubt that the CSU is the correct approach: “Our CSU has become a hub, particularly for the police units that deal with cross-border investigations.”
During the early phases of the project, Thierry Plonka also visited the Dallmeier Factory Acceptance Test Center in Regensburg. This is where the video system is set up in its entirety before it is shipped to the customer, so that it can be tested comprehensively in simulated live operation. The FAT enables customers to assure themselves of the quality and reliability of the products before a system is commissioned.
Since then, surveillance cameras have been installed at many additional locations in the town and the system has been expanded continuously in several project phases. The subject of bodycams has also been raised; these are intended to prevent incidents during police actions and to enable offenses to be monitored.
Analogue to IP
One important milestone in the ongoing development of the project was the transition from analogue camera equipment to IP cameras in 2011. The Dallmeier open system architecture enables the installation to operate in a two-track mode, and the analogue cameras that are still operational do not necessarily have to be replaced, potentially at great cost. In selected areas, full HD IP PTZ cameras are then added to the existing constellation. The specific surveillance of the commercial district entails displaying vehicle license plates. For this application too, Dallmeier was able to deliver the right solution with cameras designed especially to detect vehicle number plates.
The deployment of the Panomera multifocal sensor system is the most recent milestone. Thierry Plonka is evidently extremely satisfied with the capabilities offered by this system: “A camera technology that allows you to zoom into the smallest detail of an image without losing an overview of the entire field of vision is extraordinary.”
The town of Gaillard and police chief Plonka have been working with Dallmeier for more than a decade now, and they still have several plans for expanding the video surveillance network. They include the extension of the tram line as far as Geneva, border stations and other sensitive locations. Advances in intelligent camera technology interacting with video analysis software and video management tools combine to solve new requirements that exceed the scope of simple observation. For example, it is becoming more and more important to distinguish between a pedestrian, a delivery vehicle, a car or a cycle in order to be able to generate appropriate responses very quickly when necessary.
Mayor Bosland concludes, “We have been using Dallmeier products for ten years, and German quality has proven itself. We will not settle for mediocrity; the image material must be flawless and admissible as evidence in court, so that we can identify suspicious persons and situations unambiguously. The company has made every effort during the development of its products and solutions to ensure that they can be expanded and scaled with ease for years to come. This ensures a high degree of investment confidence. We are convinced that Dallmeier technology will meet our needs in future as well.”