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News

Massachusetts state moves to IP technology in anti-dumping campaign

IQinVision : 16 October, 2008  (Application Story)
IQeye megapixel cameras from IQinVision at the heart of surveillance upgrade in the Boston area to combat the growing problem of illegal dumping
Massachusetts state moves to IP technology in anti-dumping campaign
IQinVision has announced that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has deployed IQeye MegaPixel cameras in their on-going, successful efforts to catch and prosecute illegal dumping in Boston and surrounding communities. The integrator assisting on the project is Green Pages.

The MassDEP project started three years ago with basic analog cameras and Digital Video recorders. Having met with some success, they decided to expand the project scope, reported Tim Dame, an investigator with MassDEP's Environmental Strike Force. The goal of the program is to identify, prosecute, and ultimately deter perpetrators dumping solid waste on city streets, vacant lots, and public land.

"We started with standard CCTV equipment, but we ran into limitations in terms of power and image resolution," recounted Dame. Most locations attractive for illegal dumping are dark, out of the way places, without ready access to power. Dame and his team over time have developed a number of successful set-ups using IQeye MegaPixel cameras on solar or marine battery power with day/night capabilities, so the camera can effectively record the dumping and also capture the license plate information to send out fines and/or aid in prosecution.

Since employing the IQeye MegaPixel cameras, the rate of success has been impressive. Three illegal dumpers have been identified and prosecuted in East Boston, as have two each in Worcester and Lynn. To date, the remote, camouflaged IQeyes have been directly responsible for catching seven illegal dumpers, with two of the incidents serious enough to merit court case prosecution and the potential for large fines.

Dame explained how the project works, "Once we're alerted to a new dumping incident, we download the footage from the onboard recording and burn the JPEG frames of the incident onto a CD or create an AVI file. We run the vehicle plate number and the municipality issues a ticket, often for $1000 or more. If the perpetrator is a contractor or the waste is of a 'nastier' variety, the MassDEP steps in and prosecutes, and then fines can run up to the $25,000 range, depending on volumes and types of waste dumped."

This is an important program, Dame said, prosecuting these crimes and levying stiff fines will have a significant deterrent effect. For some municipalities, like Worcester, their bylaws call for fine revenues to be placed in a revolving fund dedicated to clean-up and expanding anti-dumping efforts.

Megapixel technology has been key to the program's growing success. "IQrecorder has simplified set-up big time, the video motion detection has worked very well, and the quality of the images is outstanding," reported Dame. "The IQeye's low power draw allows us to keep the cameras on all the time, so we don't miss a thing. We're running at about two frames per second, which is more than enough for the identification we need for investigation and prosecution."

The emerging "model" for successful covert surveillance involves IQeye MegaPixel cameras; power from flexible solar panels, and cameras housed in generic, gray electrical boxes mounted to poles. "We want the system of cameras to run efficiently, but we also need to be nimble, so that we can move cameras easily to locations where we're having dumping," Dame said. As the MassDEP adds wi-fi technology to the evolving camera model, staff can then sit in their cars and download video without disturbing the cameras and drawing attention to the on-going surveillance.

With the success to date, and the project's excellent return on investment, Dame sees continued expansion of the program and the future for illegal dumpers in and around Boston is looking increasingly dim.

"This is a great MegaPixel application," said Paul Bodell, IQinVision Chief Marketing Officer. "One camera covers a wide area and provides forensic video detail even in low-light and bad weather conditions. For a very reasonable investment, the MassDEP and these towns are reaping significant benefits, while catching the bad guys, and cleaning up their communities."
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