Use Of Streaming Video?

With the introduction and increasing use of streaming video by stormchasers in the field and the NWS use of it to issue warnings, I'd be interested in hearing from anybody in Emergency Management and/or coordinating SKYWARN spotters activities about the potential uses of it.

What are your opinions, thoughts or plans about:

1) Implementing streaming video in the field as a supplement to spotter reports?

2) Use of streaming video for other events outside of severe weather? I'm thinking of floods, wildfires, major accidents, etc.

3) Use of Amateur TV for the same purpose? If so, how has it performed?

4) Anything else. ;-)
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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skywatch.org
1) Very handy, since many times we don't know if there are spotters in the area and not seeing anything - or there are no spotters in the area. Video takes the question out, especially on a radar indicated TOR storm.

2) Again nothing beats ground truth. Major accidents probably not, since that information doesn't need to go to a central command center (if a command is needed, it's taken to the scene.)

3) I know ATV is used extensively in our area for the week-long concert festival, but I think ease of access with Internet streaming means that will take a back page to severestudios.com type stuff.

Basically there isn't a downside to streaming video that I can see. Kudos to the SS team for making it so convenient and bringing it to the masses.
 
Nov 5, 2007
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Birmingham, AL.
What are your opinions, thoughts or plans about:

1) Implementing streaming video in the field as a supplement to spotter reports?
Steve, as you know, I am not in the Public Service arena anymore, but I have had numerous calls this year from NWS personnel asking for reports and verification after they notice my video going and see my location on Spotter Network. They realize there is a lag time between feeding and viewing, so hey have tried to get immediate confirmation or info.


2) Use of streaming video for other events outside of severe weather? I'm thinking of floods, wildfires, major accidents, etc.
I have been contracted out several times with the media this year on the flooding when I was covering it in Iowa.
Also a few times, I have come up on accidents and fires and been able to broadcast that.


3) Use of Amateur TV for the same purpose? If so, how has it performed?
Unknown - but I think possible


4) Anything else. ;-)
Always posible. If you have any questions either PM me or call me
 
Mar 30, 2008
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Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
Since I've had a hand in the ATV side of things this week that Rob talked about, our served agency (City of Lansing OEM) can't get enough of video. We had live video for them during a NSM Rally a couple years ago, we've provided live video of different drills and exercises. It allows people otherwise locked into an EOC/basement to have "eyes" on what is going on and how people are interacting. It's one thing for someone to describe what is happening over a radio - totally different for them to see it first hand.

With that said, I can see what we're doing at SevereStudios having a pretty good impact on emergency services - but I don't think fast scan ATV will ever 'go away' - The internet isn't reliable, especially during a disaster. Radio waves are (for the most part)

As far as the cameras during storm events, our City Emergency Manager has IM'ed me while on the road before and asked if I could go certain places and stream what is going on. I'm pretty sure he's watched Rob's cam before as well as Dan (Another streamer in the Lansing area). I also know the Kent County EC (Grand Rapids area) has watched the stream too when I was in their area. (They've IM'ed me on IEMChat and told me so)
 
One of the reasons I posted this was because an OEM contacted me wanting to know the equipment I was using to stream. They had watched my live streams through Severe Studios.

One of their main intended uses were to monitor wildfires here in the TX PH. They wanted to hook it up in one of their mobile command units which was responsible for monitoring the forward progress of the fireline. The stream would be sent back to OEM headquarters as well as other command heads of the fire department and government officials all at the local and county levels. This simultaneous visual confirmation would save alot of critical time in communicating among the different agencies involved so that firefighting efforts could be redeployed in a more efficient and time-saving manner.

I had never considered all of the benefits as outlined above. So, I was curious as to what other OEM professionals might want to use it for. Augmenting the SKYWARN spotter nets was my first thought and with that, how many might be using Amateur TV for such purposes and if so, how it might measure up with the live streaming video. Like ya'll mentioned, any visual confirmation of the spotter reports would be extremely beneficial in my opinion both for the accuracy of detail...and to eliminate "misinterpreted cloud formations". ;-)

With the streaming video really coming on strong this year, I wanted to get an idea for how it was being received or considered in OEMs around the country.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
Actually I think a lot of EM's are not aware of it... Over the off-season I'm going to work on a presentation/article for various publications for EM's across the country just letting them know what's out there in the form of real-time video availability. Maybe something on setting up your own should be included too.
 

Joe Dorn

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Feb 27, 2005
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Belton, Texas
With that said, I can see what we're doing at SevereStudios having a pretty good impact on emergency services - but I don't think fast scan ATV will ever 'go away' - The internet isn't reliable, especially during a disaster. Radio waves are (for the most part)

As far as the cameras during storm events, our City Emergency Manager has IM'ed me while on the road before and asked if I could go certain places and stream what is going on. I'm pretty sure he's watched Rob's cam before as well as Dan (Another streamer in the Lansing area). I also know the Kent County EC (Grand Rapids area) has watched the stream too when I was in their area. (They've IM'ed me on IEMChat and told me so)
I am under the impression that SevereStudios is for chaser video only. Do they support other emergency or disaster related events?

As an example, we recently supported the evacuation of the Texas coastal area and had a very active registration and reception area for the arriving buses. It would have been very useful for those of us in the EOC, all volunteers, to see what was happening at the center.

We have a very active spotter group, as opposed to chasers, several with laptops and Internet connectivity. I am sure they would be most happy to participate in the program if what we do is within the criteria.

Our EOC is a bit unusual for a county of our size. There is one paid employee, the EM, and the rest of us are volunteers, for the most part ham radio operators. The EM oversees the operation and is the political interface, the grunt work is done by the "Reservist's".
 

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
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Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
I know at least a few NWS offices that use streaming to see what chasers are seeing on a storm.

As far as for other uses, last I remember, they just didn't want you using it as a windows camera with no purpose.

I can see uses by spotters and chasers alike.
 
Nov 24, 2008
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During a potential dam break I was working in the EOC instead of being out in the field (dang promotions stink) and noticed all the Chiefs wanting to see the site. Seems there was a pretty steady stream of people heading to the event and back. I decided after the dust settled to collect the necessary equipment so that next time this happens we can leave an old Panasonic Toughbook with a camera that has a night mode(ex-dash cam from one of the patrol cars) at the site. Plug in an air card and we are good to go. As time has gone on I thought it should all be put in a box so it is easy to grab when needed. My next step at this point is to turn the box in to a self contained package so we could set the box down, attach the camera to a part with some kind of window, then plug in the power and be good to go (or skip the power for a couple of hours by putting a small battery in the box). Quite honestly I was able to build the entire kit out of stuff that was laying around city hall. For the streaming server, we just created some dummy MSN accounts, but I may have to check out the SevereStudios as this looks very promising. At the very least, it will be fun to play with next storm season.
 

Will Wilkens

I am under the impression that SevereStudios is for chaser video only. Do they support other emergency or disaster related events?
I recently streamed the Corona, Ca wildfire outbreak for Severe Studios on November 15, and I believe it was the first "non-weather" emergency/disaster stream of its kind on SS. It was met with a very positive response from viewers, including local media outlets in the Los Angeles area. The potential value of this service proved itself that day. It opens up the door to a lot of opportunities that emergency service organizations can benefit from.
 

Jason Foster

RF transmit video

.... I decided after the dust settled to collect the necessary equipment so that next time this happens we can leave an old Panasonic Toughbook with a camera that has a night mode(ex-dash cam from one of the patrol cars) at the site. Plug in an air card and we are good to go....
Actually, you can use a RF transmitter at the camera to transmit the images to a computer located away from the event, back to the Mobile Command Unit, if close enough. Then you can stream the video from there. That way you can fore go all the extra building of boxes, power, etc.
 
Nov 24, 2008
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Actually, you can use a RF transmitter at the camera to transmit the images to a computer located away from the event, back to the Mobile Command Unit, if close enough. Then you can stream the video from there. That way you can fore go all the extra building of boxes, power, etc.
That is a good idea which I have used for other projects but had not though of for this. Thanks for the tip.
 
I think an awesome thing to do is live stream a probe intercept. I'm guessing it would be quite hard to get the probe in the path of the tornado, and it would be a waste of money if the camera got ruined, but it would be awesome watching the inside of a tornado live!
 
Nov 24, 2008
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Quite honestly, I thought this was much more realistic approach than our friends on the other thread driving the TIV through one. Of course, you could not do that with an IMAX so for their particular project that would not work.

Actually, now that I think about it, I remember at one of the conferences there was someone from I think Kansas or Nebraska who made some up that looked like half domes. Now I have to see if I can find them...
 
I think an awesome thing to do is live stream a probe intercept. I'm guessing it would be quite hard to get the probe in the path of the tornado, and it would be a waste of money if the camera got ruined, but it would be awesome watching the inside of a tornado live!
I don't know if he does 'live' streaming of it, but I know that Mike Theiss has the Theiss Device, which has videocamera inside the container. :)
 
Yes- the TD worked great in Katrina. That is perhaps the best POV video of storm surge ever taken and it was done without human interaction. Mike put a lot of time and effort in to that and it paid off. He was able to shoot excellent hand-held while his floating device recorded from inside the surge itself. Amazing.

As for doing it live in a tornado. It will come. Give it time. It probably won't be Theiss though. He is in South America looking for the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

:)
 
What a perfect name: The Theiss Device...sounds like something from Back to the Future...

I think the footage of the surge was the best ever of the effects of what nature can do to us. I was amazed at the power of the water simply pulling apart that porch and then the devices demise as it succumbed to the depths of the surge.

Whoever gets the nado shot, I think it will be great up to the point that the lens in pummeled with grass, cow poop and mud!
 
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Jonathan:

You bring up an excellent point. I am not sure what we will see with any such success with a camera inside a tornado. There are so many different types, shapes and sizes of tornadoes too. We have seen inside of tornadoes to some extent with the bank cameras in Iowa, I think it was. That outside shot showing the house being torn apart may be the best ever evidence of what it looks like inside of a strong tornado. I am a little concerned that you are right in that all we will see is darkness as all manner of junk gets blown past, and on to, the lens.

On the other hand, I have noticed on hi-res radar pics that some tornadoes appear to have an eye similar to a hurricane. People sometimes refer to being in the eye of a tornado after it goes over them. Seeing as how not one frame of video or a single photo has ever been taken inside the "eye" of a tornado, this might be a great accomplishment if someone can pull it off. But first, you would have to be on the right tornado that indeed has an eye and hope that your cam makes it that far. Stream all of that live and you should be a shoe-in for some kind of major award from science and technology. It might be easier though to stream back live video from the Moon. We'll see. Next Spring offers another chance for those who wish to give it a shot.