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BEHIND THE SCENES
Berks County Haze Cam employs a variety of hardware and software applications to take the pictures, obtain air quality and meteorological measurements and present the data on one web site for display.  Here is a detailed Behind The Scenes look at what keeps Haze Cam running.  Please note that the mention of trade names is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Berks County or other sponsoring Agencies.

INSTRUMENTATION

Digital Camera
An Olympus C-730 Ultra Zoom digital camera is used to capture the high quality digital photograph.   The camera has 10x optical zoom capability and is set to capture a 1600 x 1200 pixels image.  A software program supplied by Air Resource Specialists Inc., controls camera functions such as zoom, picture quality, exposure, and date/time stamping.  The program also controls the FTP function that sends the images to the web server.  Images are currently obtained every 15 minutes, day and night.
Image Capture Computer
Camera system operation is controlled by a Sony Vaio notebook computer running the Microsoft Windows XP SP2 operating system.  The computer in the Berks County building is connected to the camera on the roof via a special long-range USB communications cable. Every 15 minutes the computer configures the camera, captures and saves an image, collects air quality and meteorology data, and uploads the image and data to the web server. Image files are archived to CD-R or DVD media for permanent storage off-site.  Power to the cameras is supplied by a 24V DC power supply.  Power and signal cables connect the power supply and computer to the camera on the roof.  The equipment is housed in a climate controlled rooms and protected by uninterruptible power sources.
On the Roof
The digital camera is housed in a weatherproof heated and ventilated enclosure on a pan and tilt head. The heaters, fan and window defroster are thermostatically controlled to keep the camera within a reasonable temperature range. The enclosure is powered by the 24 volt DC supply inside the building. This low voltage is preferred for reasons of safety and ease of installation. In addition to the camera, the enclosure also contains part of the long-range USB communications system and a high efficiciency power supply for the camera.
Air Quality and Meteorology Data
Air quality and meteorology (weather) information are important in understanding the current air quality conditions shown in the picture. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) operates air quality monitoring stations around the state, including sites in Berks County.

 

The data collected from these sites is available online at:

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/aq/aqm/pollt.html
The data are also used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
as part of the AirNow network. The camera system computer extracts
the information from the DEP web site and uploads the data with the
picture to the Berks County web server for display. In the same way,
meteorology data are obtained from:

http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/KRDG.html

 

Berks County Environmental Advisory Council

Berks County Agricultural Center
1238 County Welfare Road
Leesport, PA 19533
 
 
The environmental website for Berks County, Pennsylvania
dealing with the environment and its effects on the health and welfare of Berks County citizens.
 
 
 
   
 
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