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Monday, 10-Dec-2018

 Bandung-Aeromodeling >> Tutorial >> Aerial Robotics System >> Aerial Surveillance


    Aerial Surveillance

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Date Created: 25-Nov-2013
Created By: Budi Atmoko
Category: Aerial Robotics System

Aerial Surveillance

Aerial Surveillance And Imagery 1/2

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Surveillance is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting. Surveillance is therefore an ambiguous practice, sometimes creating positive effects, at other times negative. It is sometimes done in a surreptitious manner. It most usually involves observation of individuals or groups by government organizations (though there are some exceptions, such as disease surveillance, which monitors the progress of a disease in a community without for that matter directly observing or monitoring individuals).

The word surveillance may be applied to observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras), or interception of electronically transmitted information (such as Internet traffic or phone calls). It may also refer to simple, relatively no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception.

Surveillance is very useful to governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program and ADVICE, technologies such as high speed surveillance computers and biometrics software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of their subjects.

Surveillance equipment is a broad term encompassing a wide range of equipment used to observe what people are doing, either overtly or covertly. Although many people think of surveillance equipment as being in the realm of spies and espionage, the most common surveillance equipment seen today is the simple closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera. These cameras are seen in banks, football stadiums, many stores, or around the streets of countries such as the United Kingdom. Although the term may be used to describe any surveillance device, today, it is most often used to describe electronic devices, as opposed to analog devices such as binoculars or fingerprinting equipment.

Surveillance cameras are the simplest form of equipment used, and because of their relative affordability, and ease of installation, they are widely used. For example, in the United Kingdom there are more than four million CCTV cameras throughout the country. In China, surveillance cameras are used with increasing frequency, and are used in conjunction with advanced facial-recognition software, and tracking systems, with the stated goal of ultimately creating a registry of every citizen. In the United States, due to privacy concerns, the use of CCTV cameras for surveillance is more limited, but many municipal governments install them under the auspices of traffic monitoring, and later open them to law enforcement.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging is the use of very small electronic devices (called "RFID tags") which are applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. The tags can be read from several meters away. They are extremely inexpensive, costing a few cents per piece, so they can be inserted into many types of everyday products without significantly increasing the price, and can be used to track and identify these objects for a variety of purposes.

Many companies are already "tagging" their workers, who are monitored while on the job. Workers in U.K. went on general strike in protest of having themselves tagged. They felt that it was dehumanizing to have all of their movements tracked with RFID chips. Some critics have expressed fears that people will soon be tracked and scanned everywhere they go.

Verichip is an RFID device produced by a company called Applied Digital Solutions (ADS). Verichip is slightly larger than a grain of rice, and is injected under the skin. The injection reportedly feels similar to receiving a shot. The chip is encased in glass, and stores a "VeriChip Subscriber Number" which the scanner uses to access their personal information, via the Internet, from Verichip Inc.s database, the "Global VeriChip Subscriber Registry". Thousands of people have already had them inserted. In Mexico, for example, 160 workers at the Attorney Generals office were required to have the chip injected for identity verification and access control purposes.

A more advanced form of surveillance equipment is biometric equipment. This is equipment that looks at specific characteristics of a person to identify them. For example, fingerprint scanners are an example of a biometric system, as are retinal scanners. More advanced scanners may analyze the gait of a person as they are walking to identify them, or may track their voice as they speak in order to identify them. Although some of these systems, such as fingerprint scanners, may be overt, others, such as gait analyzers, may be covert.


Aerial surveillance equipment is another advanced form of surveillance that has seen a huge boom in the last few years, as miniaturization has become more advanced and prices have dropped. Small aerial drones are able to use lasers, infrared scanners, and cameras to track subjects on the ground.

Digital imaging technology, miniaturized computers, and numerous other technological advances over the past decade have contributed to rapid advances in aerial surveillance hardware such as micro-aerial vehicles, forward-looking infrared and high-resolution imagery capable of identifying objects at extremely long distances.

For instance, the MQ-9 Reaper, a U.S. drone plane used for domestic operations by the Department of Homeland Security, carries cameras that are capable of identifying an object the size of a milk carton from altitudes of 60,000 feet, and has forward-looking infrared devices that can detect the heat from a human body at distances of up to 60 kilometers. In an earlier instance of commercial aerial surveillance, the Killington Mountain ski resort hired "eye in the sky" aerial photography of its competitors parking lots to judge the success of its marketing initiatives as it developed starting in the 1950s.

The United States Department of Homeland Security is in the process of testing UAVs to patrol the skies over the United States for the purposes of critical infrastructure protection, border patrol, "transit monitoring", and general surveillance of the U.S. population. Miami-Dade police department ran tests with a vertical take-off and landing UAV from Honeywell, which is planned to be used in SWAT operations. Houstons police department has been testing fixed-wing UAVs for use in "traffic control".

The United Kingdom, as well, is working on plans to build up a fleet of surveillance UAVs ranging from micro-aerial vehicles to full-size drones, to be used by police forces throughout the U.K.

To be continued...

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